Monday, November 7, 2011

Supreme Court Review Forces Suspension of Traffic Cameras in Costa Rica

Less than two months after the installation of 16 traffic cameras throughout Costa Rica's Central Valley (which includes the capital of San Jose and the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago), the Costa Rica Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI) voted last week to suspend the cameras for at least six months.

COMMENT: The cameras have been suspended largely because of motorists' complaints that have resulted in a Supreme Court review. In actuality, at issue is not so much the installation of the cameras, but the excessively high traffic fines resulting from their use.

The average monthly income for a Costa Rican is $540. Yet drivers caught traveling more than 20 kilometers per hour over the speed limit risk a $600 fine. Worse, punishment for speeding ranges from about $600 per infraction to three years in prison.

Most recently, President Laura Chinchilla met with the public works and transport minister to discuss the rationality of Francisco COSEVI's fines structure.

In the meantime, both residents and travelers are urged to watch their speed on the roadway, as no one can afford prevailing fines.

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