San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Marchamo payments will not include traffic camera fines

Motorists will not have to pay fines issued through the traffic camera system when renewing their vehicle circulation permit, or marchamo, at the end of the year, the Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI) announced Tuesday. Fines for other traffic violations that have been appealed with COSEVI also will not be charged at the time of marchamo payment.

The 16 traffic cameras that began monitoring Central Valley highways in September were temporarily suspended on Nov. 3 while the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) rules on the legality of the exorbitant fines, which start at ₡308,000 ($616) for driving more than 20 kilometers per hour over the speed limit. The camera system launched Sept. 8 and recorded 14,662 speeding drivers during the first 11 days of operation, accounting for over $9 million in fines.

Hundreds of drivers appealed the outrageously high fines before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV). Silvia Bolaños, director of COSEVI, told The Tico Times on Nov. 3 that the camera system would be temporarily suspended due to the high number of appeals.

“By no means does this mean that we are aborting the use of the cameras,” Bolaños said. “Due to the number of complaints in the Sala IV, we will wait until the cases are resolved before proceeding with the use of the cameras.”

All fines issued through the camera system are suspended until the Sala IV makes its ruling.

Fines from tickets issued by Traffic Police that have not been appealed will still apply at the time of marchamo payment. This includes fines for not wearing a seat belt, although the amount for this infraction will be reduced to ₡15,000 ($30) rather than the ₡237,000 ($475) that applied before the Sala IV in May ruled this amount “disproportionate and unreasonable.”

Marchamo payments are due before Dec. 31 and can be made at most banks.

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