After a rash of drunken tourists causing havoc on the streets of Spain, authorities are cracking down on sloshed pedestrians and considering introducing breathalyzer tests for people who appear to have had one too many sangrias.
That’s right, visitors to Spain could soon be cited for Walking Under the Influence.
Proposed by the country's Directorate General of Traffic, the measure is meant to prevent tourists from stumbling into traffic and causing accidents or deaths. The move would re-classify pedestrians as road users, giving them the same responsibility to keep safe as drivers have, and would allow police to administer breathalyzer or drug tests to anyone believed to be implicated in a road traffic accident.
The proposal has raised the eyebrows of a number of Spanish lawmakers concerned it would be a violation of privacy. Spain also does not have a legal limit on what constitutes too much alcohol.
The traffic directorate says that the concerns are overblown, given that cops have been carrying out breathalyzer and drug tests on alleged crooks for a while now.
"Municipal police have been carrying out these tests for months – there is nothing new here that will allow us to start sanctioning pedestrians, whether economically or with penalty points," María Segui Gomes, the organization’s director said.
While Spain’s new proposal may seem draconian to some, the underlying reasoning may not be so dizzy.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Trauma found that 55 percent of pedestrians who had consumed alcohol ignored designated crosswalks, compared to 22 percent of sober ones. Also, on average, drunks stayed two days longer in the hospital than sober accident victims, and their injuries were typically almost twice as severe.
The drunk walking proposal isn’t the only anti-pedestrian measure Spain is considering. The country is also mulling over imposing speed limits on joggers, fining people who leave the house without their glasses, and those who wear dark clothing at night or flashy, visually distracting outfits during the day.