QCOSTARICA – Every day, seven drunk drivers are referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía) to face a criminal reckless driving case, which is punishable by imprisonment of one to three years.
This figure is equivalent to 1,632 drunk drivers between January 1 and August 31, according to statistics from the Traffic Police (Policía de Tránsito).
According to Tránsito, in the 243 days that elapsed in that period, 13,248 breathalyzer tests were made and of that total, 2,220 drivers (17%) traveled under the influence.
This last data is broken down into 354 with very low levels of alcohol in the body and that does not imply a sanction, 234 with sufficient values for an administrative fine of ¢327,700 colones and another 1,632 with such high levels of alcohol that they were transferred to the Fiscalía.
“These are figures that draw attention, because 17 out of 100 breathalyzer tests are positive, but, even more negative, 74% of those tests give very high levels of alcohol concentration. As many health measures have been released, around Covid-19, such as eliminating the restriction on weekends, extending the time until 10 at night (prior to September 18), although both have already been reversed, it could be that these results are being influenced,” Stated Alberto Barquero Espinoza, deputy director of the Policía de Tránsito.
The official also believes that it is possible that celebrations such as soccer finals, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and the Semana Santa holidays influence this statistic.
In addition to the possible jail sentence, drunk drivers face a disqualification from driving for a period of two to four years. However, the judge can impose an alternative sanction, such as social work, for example.
For the rest of the year, Alberto Barquero said that they are already preparing for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, as it is a period in which the consumption of liquor and deaths on the road increase.
The press report of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) indicates that of the 9 months with sanitary restriction in 2020 (April-December), December was the deadliest month, with 37 deaths on the road. Closest was October with 30 deaths.