Lower limits may apply depending on conditions, such as steep gradients or winding roads, or near schools or hospitals. If a person is stopped for speeding they will be issued a fine. Road fines can be paid immediately at Banco Do Brazil or when renewing the annual road tax.
A Brazilian driving licence has twenty points. Points are deducted for infractions. A minor speeding offence will typically result in a three-point endorsement. A person driving with their elbow outside the window or with an animal between their legs will lose four points. Not wearing a safety belt will result in the loss of four points. Not wearing prescribed glasses, not driving with a valid driving licence or driving with a suspended licence will result in a seven point endorsement.
On 19 June 2008, Brazil introduced a “dry law” indicating a nearly zero alcohol tolerance law regarding driving. The tolerated blood alcohol limit is 0.2g/l to allow for alcoholic mouthwashes or certain medicines.
This means that consuming a beer or small glass of wine before driving is now a serious offence. A driver found to have more than the legal limit of alcohol is fined based on the blood alcohol level – the higher the level, the larger the fine. In some cases the driver faces suspension, and a driver that causes an accident, injury or death may also face jail.
Since it’s introduction, the law has reduced alcohol related driving incidents considerably in a short period of time. Previously, an estimated 20,000 deaths per year on Brazil’s roads were alcohol related.
It is generally not safe to park on the street over night. Breaking into and subsequent theft from cars is a significant problem in certain places, insurance premiums reflect this. Whenever possible, the vehicle should be parked in secure apartment or office building parking lots. Private parking is another although sometimes costly option.
When finding parking on the street, it is a common practice for individuals to help find a parking place nearby and then guard a vehicle or vehicles. They expect to be paid a few reais for this service and is an unofficial yet valuable source of income for many. It is self regulating and generally trustworthy. Note that rudeness or indicating no intention to pay in advance or upon return could result in damage occurring to the vehicle.