Pedestrians walkways in the area of the Legislative Assembly in downtown San Jose had become parking lots under the law. Now vehicles can be ticketed without the presence of the driver. Photo Alonso Tenorio / La Nacion

Q COSTA RICA – Don’t be surprised to find a ticket for your illegally parked vehicle, even if you weren’t personally present to be ticketed, as the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) began on Monday enforcing the latest reforms to the Ley de Transito (Traffic Act).

The reforms to the law were approved last month by the Legislative Assembly, eliminating the need for the driver of the vehicle to be present to be ticketed.

Now, drivers who park on boulevards, yellow areas, sidewalks, bicycle lanes or block driveways (business or residential, among others, can find a ticket for ¢51,316 colones (US$90), plus costs.

Among the 19 changes include in the reforms is a fine of ¢306,850 colones (US$538 dollars) and loss of six points on the driver’s license to a driver who refuses a roadside breathalyzer test.

Currently, until next month when the reform takes effect, a driver who refuses a beathalyzer it is a criminal offence, the driver must be taken to the Fiscalia (prosecutor’s office). The driver can request a second test if/she is not happy with the results of the first. In the even there is no mobile lab, the Transito must obtain a judge’s order to take the drive to a medical center, where the sample is taken and then to the OIJ for forensic analysis

All that changes in August, when a driver who refuses a roadside breathalyzer will be fined and the vehicle may be seized. If the driver wants a second test, a roadside breathalyzer test is performed again. If the driver doubts the results, he or she has 30 minutes to have a blood test at an accredited laboratory. If the results are negative, the Cosevi is responsible for the costs; however, if the results are positive (confirming the roadside breathlyzer), the driver pays the laboratory costs along with the fine for having refused the test in the first place.

Another change, however, the implementation of the change is still some days away, when the government publishes the relevant regulations, is fining drivers of vehicles for excessive noise, including motorcycles.


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