Photo John Duran, La Nacion

Q COSTA RICA – Driving a noisy or polluting vehicle? If you don’t own the vehicle, don’t worry, the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) will not be able to issue YOU,  the driver, the ticket.

By majority vote, the Constitutional Court or Sala IV as it is often referred to, endorsed the amendment to the Ley de Transito (Traffic Act) that will allow the issuing of a ¢306,850 colones (US$553 dollars) fine for excessive noise or gas emissions above the permitted limits, provided the sanction applies to the owner of the vehicle and not the driver.

With the Court resolution, legislators, who approved the bill in first debate and submitted the bill for a constitutional consult, can now move forward to second and final debate and if approved, become law.

Q AnalysisIf the bill is approved into law, lending or renting a vehicle, as well vehicles used by employees, can be complicated in that the driver may not tell the owner of the ticket, which under the same traffic law, accumulates interest and penalties if it goes unpaid.Also, the owner, in the scenario where the friend, renter or employee does not pass on the information, may lose the right to challenge the ticket. All traffic tickets can be challenged within 10 working days of its issue.Any outstanding fines (including interest and penalties) are added to the annual Marchamo (circulation permit) payable by December 31 of each year.

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