Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico - Mobile phone use while driving is common, but it is widely considered dangerous due to its potential for causing distracted driving and accidents. Faced with the persistent problem of automobile accidents caused by drivers calling or texting 'behind the wheel,' an initiative to increase the fine for the use of mobile phones by motorists was presented to the Jalisco State Congress on September 27, 2017.
Roció Corona Nakamura of the PRI bench presented the initiative, and, after adjustments were made by several legislators, the proposed amendment to Articles 47 & 52 and addition of 49 Bis to Jalisco State Treasury Law, were approved by the Constitutional Points, Legislative Studies and Regulations Commission of the Jalisco State Congress.
Deputy Rocío Corona stated that the intention of this reform was not to collect more fines but rather to raise awareness of the risks involved by using a cell phone while driving. For this purpose, a transitional period of 120 days was proposed before the reform comes into force and during this period to carry out diffusion campaigns to notify the public.
"Seven out of 10 accidents are caused by texting or talking on the phone while driving, so it is important to increase the penalty, the proposal being approved is to increase it to between 5 and 10 Units of the Updated Measure (or UMA, which is used to determine income and minimum wage,) and there will be no prompt payment discounts," said the legislator.
It should be mentioned that the original proposal contemplated a much larger fine, between 10 and 20 times the UMA, which is the penalty charged in Mexico City. Nonetheless, said the deputy, some of his colleagues considered that the fine that the offending driver would have to pay was "too high," so the amount was reduced.
Cellular Phones More Deadly Than Alcohol
Earlier this month, the National Civil Protection Coordination issued a reminder stating that using a cell phone while driving is the number one cause of road accidents and deaths, over alcohol and other distractions that are dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians.
The head of this unit, Luis Felipe Puente, revealed that according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, up to 24,000 people a year suffer traffic accidents due to cell phone distraction, which represents an average of 55 every day.
In 2014, the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) released a "Use of cell phones and road safety," report which explained that the risks not only apply to motorists, but also motorcyclists and bicyclists. In addition, the report said that pedestrians' lives are put at risk by talking or texting while walking.
Green Light for Property Rental Income Taxes
The initiative, which was presented by deputy Juan Carlos Anguiano Orozco of the Citizen Movement party, adds another 3 percent to the 16 percent IVA (added value tax) that rental property owners are already required to collect, declare and pay to state tax authorities.
Jalisco seeks the same agreements reached with online booking sites for rental properties in Mexico City and Cancun, explained the deputy president of the commission, Rocío Corona. Anguiano Orozco stated that he expects this reform to come into force this year, as the legal procedures seem to be nearing completion.Original article translated and edited by Lorena Sonrisas for BanderasNews.com.