Published Wednesday, January 6, 2021300 car crash-related deaths,
despite the ban-on-driving
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Despite the ban-on-driving rule and the restrictions to the general commerce imposed by the government to try to avoid an increase in covid-19 infections, this past year 300 deaths were caused by car crashes, according to the Ministry of Transport.
However, that record represents 110 deaths less than the total of 2019 where 440 deaths were registered.
According to the statistics of the ministry, 164 of the deaths happened at night, between 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. of the next day, a time that almost entirely matches with the driving restriction schedule.
This may mean that many drivers did not respect the ban-on driving-rule during 2020.
Also, of the total deaths, 65 people died in car crashes on a Saturday night.
One fact that concerns the authorities is that the majority of the deceased, 152, were young drivers, between 21 and 40 years old.
Men were mostly killed in vehicle-related accidents this past year at 262 dead.
This is the second report made by the Traffic Police this week, showing an increase in reckless behavior by drivers, despite the new restrictions.
On Monday, police reported that from January to November 2020, they administered 12,169 breath tests on drivers. Of these, 2,063 drunk drivers were taken before a judge of the Public Ministry for breaking the traffic law.
In 2019 when there were no pandemic restrictions, 1,871 drunk drivers were arrested. In 2020 there was an increase of 192 cases, equivalent to 10% more.
Despite the closure of bars and other places for several months and the ban-on-driving rule that took drivers off the streets, the people have not stopped drunk driving.
In 2020, 2,488 drivers were detected with a positive result of the test, but only 425 had not exceeded the maximum limit of drunkenness.
Of those 425 cases, 189 drivers were at such low alcohol levels that it was not a cause for a fine. In this case, the breath alcohol test result must be less than 0.20 grams of alcohol.
The rest of the 236 drivers ranged in alcohol-level results. Those with below 0.75 grams in the test paid a fine of about $530 plus the penalty of 6 points on their driving record.
When a driver is penalized with 6 points on his driving record, they are forced to take the driving course again and must score 80 points of 100 to renew the license.
According to the police, of the 300 dead in car crashes in 2020, 11 were drunk drivers.
During this first month of the new year, the traffic police announced the continuity of road control operations to detect drivers breaking the traffic law or the updated ban-on-driving law.
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