Wednesday 27 September 2023

Costa Rica’s Traffic Rules Aren’t That Bad When Compared ….

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27 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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TICO BULL – Though it’s been sometime since I’ve gotten a traffic fine, after reading a note of what is going in a civilized country like Italy, I can’t complain of what goes on here.

In Italy, a new regulation that went into effect on November 3, a driver who is not the registered driver of the vehicle faces a fine of €700 Euros (US$870).

Italian vehicle circulation permit.
Italian vehicle circulation permit.

The example given by Silvio Scotti, an expert in Italy’s traffic laws, says that “it is allowed for another to drive the family car, for instance, without the modified registration as long as they live together.” In the case of a son or daughter who moves away from home, to another city, for example, the file and pay the €16 Euros (US$19) required registration or face sanctions.

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Scotti notes that the “upgrade” is only required if the loan of the car exceeds 30 days.

Back to Costa Rica. The most expensive traffic fine in Costa Rica is ¢293.000 colones (US$535) for speeding over 120 km/h. All others pale compare to this, except for the non-monetary fine – a direct pass to three years jail for driving over 150 km/h.

But be careful, in our country a practice that I haven’t seen done in other countries, where you are usually given a ticket for the most serious offence when multiple offences are involved, Costa Rican traffic cops accumulate tickets in one incident.

That is, if you are speeding, not wearing a seat belt, talking on a cell phone and involved in an accident, you would be issued, let’s count then, 1, 2, 3 and 4 tickets.

But, on the positive side of the multiple tickets, not one will be used against you to determine insurance rates. That is if you actually splurge and buy the “no obligatorio” (additional insurance coverage over the mandatory that comes with your Marchamo).

And that is probably the single most reason for the large number of “bad” drivers in Costa Rica, it doesn’t matter how many speeding and careless driving tickets, or even accidents, the mandatory insurance (basic third party insurance) stays the same – ¢18.975* colones (US$34) for 2015. Your driving record doesn’t influence your rate for the additional insurance.

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In fact, INS – I have never purchased a policy from the other insurers now in the market – doesn’t really provide any incentives for being a good driver – no tickets or accidents. I remember a few years back asking my insurance agent what bonus was being applied to my rate, since it never went down from year to year.

I own and operate a transport service, with four vehicles, all registered to my name and with a clean record – my last ticket was in 2010, for tinted windows and then thrown out for “bad ticket writing” on the part of the official. And yet, my rates have yet to change. My agent says that a discount is applied, that is why my rate hasn’t changed. OK, I’ll bite, tell me another tale…

* Passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles and motorcycles pay more.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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