Drivers involved in minor collisions can now come to an agreement without the need for the presence of a traffic official at the scene. Photo for illustrative purposes.
Photo for illustrative purposes.

QCOSTARICA – Starting on January 7, drivers involved in a collision can reconcile without the need of a traffic official (Transito) be present at the scene of the accident.

The new measure applies to “minor accidents”, that is accidents that do not involve personal injury and the vehicles are able to leave the scene under their own power.

The objective of the measure, by government decree signed last August, is to reduce traffic congestion of vehicles involved in a fender bender, having to wait for a Transito to arrive at the scene, which could be an hour or more.  The Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) responds to call based on the severity of the accident. Minor accidents are at the bottom of the emergency scale.

The new rule allows the drivers to decide on responsibility and compensation for any damage. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) is making available to drivers a form, called Declaratoria de Accidente Menor (DAM), which can be download from the MOPT website and carried in the vehicle at all times.  Click here for the form. (The form is PDF format and only in Spanish)

The main point of the form is to support the agreement between the parties involved, used as evidence in the event of a lawsuit (one of the parties not fulfilling the agreement).

Having voluntary insurance is not fundamental requirement, though having it may facilitate repairs and compensation for damage.

The reconciliation form can only be used when all the drivers involved agree to reconcile without calling the Transito.