Driving in Costa Rica – New Traffic Law
New Traffic Law Passed
The Costa Rican Legislature recently passed a New Traffic Law No. 8696 (Reforma Parcial a la Ley de Transito por Vias Publicas Terrestres).
Effective immediately the following dispositions of the new law are already in effect.
Drunk Driving – No more slaps on the wrist as was customary in the past. Under the new law there is now a prison sentence which can range from 1 to 3 years if your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit which is 0.75 grams. The repeat offender can face sentences of 2 to 8 years in prison.
Reckless Driving. Driving over 150 Km per hour is considered Reckless Driving and is subject to imprisonment for a term of 1 to 3 years.
Street Racing. Those caught racing on public roads could face jail time. The law imposes terms of 1 to 3 years in prison and loss of the drivers licenses for up to 5 years.
The balance of the law which provides stiffer monetary fines for traffic violations become effective in November of 2009. The law also creates a license point system whereby a loss of points on your license could result in the loss of driving privileges.
An example of some of the new fines that will be imposed include :
Offense Fine in Points Lost
Colones on License
- Disobeying a stop sign 165,000 20
- Passing in a Prohibited Area 113,500 25
- Making a U Turn 165,000 20
- Bribing a Transit Police 227,000 20
- Not having your Vehicle Registration 170,000 20
- Driver’s Making unlawful stops 227,000 10
- Driving Without a License 227,000 –
- Not carrying a Drivers License 45,400