A total of 386 checkpoints throughout the country are part of a Traffic Police effort to prevent accidents before and during the holidays. Traffic Police Director Mario Calderón said that operations would begin this week and target the busiest roads in the Central Valley, where traffic jams usually occur while people are out doing holiday shopping.
Plans include the posting of 726 officers on routes frequently gridlocked during large holiday events, including New Year’s celebrations, the lighting of the Children’s Museum facade on Dec. 3, the lighting of the Children Hospital Christmas tree on Dec. 4, the Festival of Lights on Dec. 13, the National Horse Parade on Dec. 26 and the 50th Annual Costa Rican Cycling Tour from Dec. 14-25.
Still pending is the approval of San José’s Annual Carnival on Dec. 27, as Public Security Ministry and municipal officials are considering canceling it due to a spike in crimes in the canton of Desamparados, where the carnival has been held for the past eight years.
From Dec. 1-24, the peak shopping period of the holiday season, Traffic Police will focus on San José and the central cantons of Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago, where officials hope to prevent traffic jams and will conduct routine inspections.
Starting on Dec. 25, officers will focus on routes to the country’s main tourist destinations at beaches and in the mountains. They also will coordinate, if necessary, the implementation of reversible lanes on various routes on Dec. 24, 25 and 31, and Jan. 1.
Calderón said that officers will be watching for reckless drivers, speeding, drunk driving, and motorists talking on cellphones or not wearing seat belts.
According to Costa Rica’s Traffic Law, a fine for speeding is ₡49,000 ($90). The fine for driving under the influence is ₡280,000 ($515) plus possible jail time. Drivers caught calling or texting on a cellphone, eating, aplying makeup or any other situation that might distract them will be fined ₡99,000 ($185). A Traffic Police report from Jan. 1-Nov.25 stated that officers have issued 1,629 tickets to distracted drivers.