San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Roadway safety

Traffic Police launches surveillance operation for mid-year school vacations

Thousands of Costa Rican students begin their mid-year break this weekend, and for that reason the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) and the Traffic Police will suspend the vehicle restriction for the next two weeks.

Between July 3 – 14, motorists will not have to comply with the restriction that prohibits vehicles from entering downtown San José on one weekday, according to the last digit of their license plate number.

Many workers take time off from work to enjoy with their families during these days, so vehicle traffic in Costa Rica’s capital decreases significantly. The vehicle restriction will restart on Monday, July 17.

Road surveillance

Traffic Police Director Mario Calderón said in a news release that the measure will allow Traffic Police officers who regularly monitor the capital roads to be assigned to highways that lead to popular tourist destinations outside the Central Valley.

Calderón said the police will maintain roadway checkpoints throughout the country for surveillance efforts. Officers will be using radars to detect speeding drivers, currently the leading cause of death on Costa Rican roads.

According to official records, a total of 61 people died in accidents related to speeding between Jan 1 and May 31. Officers in the same period fined 106 motorists for exceeding the speed of 120 kilometers per hour, Calderón said.

Police will also be conducting random breath tests on drivers for drugs and alcohol. “Cases of driving under the influence usually spike during the holidays,” he said.

According to MOPT’s Traffic Department, 13 people died in accidents related to driving under the influence during the first five months of this year. A total of 934 motorists faced a Traffic Court for drinking and driving.

Furthermore, 99 drivers were fined ₡306,850 ($530) and lost all the points on their driving permits for various Traffic Law violations. That means they must attend driving school in order to renew their permits.

The Traffic Police recorded 3,365 accidents during mid-year vacations in 2016. Twelve people died at the site, another 547 were injured and officers issued a total of 10,491 tickets.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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