In the phoot, traffic officials confiscating badly parked motorcycles in the boulevard between the INS and Casa Amarilla in downtown San Jose. (Alonso Tenorio / La Nacion)

This Thursday morning alone, in the area of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) and the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Foreign Ministry, also known as Casa Amarilla), Transito officials issued 25 tickets to badly parked vehicles, bringing the total to 71 for the week. In addition, 5 motorcycles were seized.

Diego Herrera, head of San Jose division of the Policia de Transito, said people don’t learn, parking illegally irrespective of the signage.

Herrera added that during the operation of “Cleaning Up The Boulevards of San Jose” (Limpiando Bulevares en San José in Spanish), his officials have issued more than 350 tickets in the downtown core area bounded by the Supreme Court, the INAMU, the Legislative Assembly, Chinatown and Casa Amarilla.

With the reforms to the traffic law days away to go into effect, traffic officials will have more leeway to ticket and remove badly parked vehicles. (Alonso Tenorio / La Nacion)

Transito now can only ticket and/or remove illegally parked vehicles if the driver or owner is present. However, in a few days, the reforms to the Traffic Law are expected to be in effect, allowing the officials more leeway.

“With the reform the driver is going to have to run because if a transito (traffic official) appears on the scene and observes a vehicle that is badly parked, he apply the sanctions, confiscate license plates and the owner is going to lose the use of his vehicle for three to five days, because more or less that is the time it takes the process to recover them,” said Hidalgo.

Due to lack of sufficient equipment – tow trucks – the traffic police uses the method of confiscating license plates instead of towing, alllowing a driver/owner of the vehicle move it within a reasonable time after the ticket, after which it means additional sanctions.

Legislators approved the reforms to the Traffic Act last week and will go into effect once published in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta.

The fine for badly parked vehicles is ¢51,316 colones (plus costs).

The cost to retrieve seized license plates (or a seized vehicle) is priceless. And only the registered owner of seized license plates or vehicle can recover same.


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