San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Seatbelt Law Goes Into Effect

A law making seatbelt use mandatory for drivers and passengers went into effect this week.Following a 15-day grace period, drivers risk being fined at least ¢5,000 ($12) if they or their passengers are not using seatbelts, according to the law published Wednesday in the government’s official newspaper La Gaceta.Congress passed the law April 13 after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) reversed a seven-year opinion and said such a law is constitutional (TT, Feb. 20).Lawmakers approved the bill in the hopes of reducing the number of deaths and injuries in traffic accidents.In Costa Rica, an average of one person dies every day in highway accidents, according to Ministry of Transport and Public Works statistics (TT Dec. 24, 2003).

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