Seatbelt Law Took Effect

December 24, 2004

IN the hopes of reducing the number of deaths and injuries in traffic accidents, legislators this year passed a law making seatbelt use mandatory for drivers and passengers. Drivers risk being fined more than ¢5,000 ($11) if they or their passengers are not using seatbelts. According to law, which went into effect in May, the fine is 5% of the minimum wage. 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. In Costa Rica, an average of one person dies every day in highway accidents, according to Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MOPT) statistics. Apparently not everyone took the new seatbelt law seriously. Three in four fatal accident victims this year were not wearing their seatbelts when they died, MOPT reported at year s end.

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