San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Constitutional Chamber Examines New Driving Fines

THE vehicular restriction that began Aug. 6 and limits cars from entering the San José area one day a week based on their license plate number continues to be in effect; however, for the time being, drivers do not have to pay the fine until judges decide whether it is constitutional.The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) agreed Aug. 11 to examine the constitutionality of the new rule, decreed by President Abel Pacheco as a gas-saving measure (TT, July 29).Libertarian Party legislators requested that the court study the decree, alleging that it limits the freedom of movement protected under the Constitution. Libertarian legislator Federico Malavassi told The Tico Times that only a law, not a decree, can limit that right.Police will continue to ticket drivers who violate the restrictions, but will not collect the ¢5,000 ($10.38) fines until the court issues its ruling, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT). If the court upholds the decree, ticketed drivers will then have to pay their fines.Sala IV President Luis Fernando Solano told The Tico Times that the court will be “very quick” in looking at the rules and making a decision.

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