Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020
DUI arrests increased 24%, police say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Despite the ban on driving rules imposed by the government to try to prevent the spread of covid-19, the arrest of drivers for driving drunk increased 24% compared to the previous year, the Traffic Police said on Tuesday.
According to the police statistics, this year 1,611 drunk drivers have been arrested, measuring between 0.50 and 0.75 grams of alcohol on the breathalizer or between 0.25 and 0.38 milligrams for the blood alcohol level. That is 312 more drivers arrested compared to the previous year.
A drunk driver must be stopped and sanctioned with a fine of approximately $550, in addition to being penalized 6 points on the driver's license, according to the Traffic Law.
The police report also registered 156 drivers with moderate levels of alcohol, which is below the levels previously mentioned. These levels do not merit sanction.
Despite the fine and the ban on driving, the number of drunk drivers arrested increases, "perhaps because of the feeling that there is less traffic on the streets or simply because of the desire to break the law," Alberto Barquero, Deputy Director of the Traffic Police said.
In addition to fines for drunk driving, the police reported an increase in other types of risky behaviors on the roads, among these are speeding (238 sanctioned drivers), driving in the wrong lane (831 sanctioned drivers), driving with an expired license (235 sanctioned drivers), among others.
Last week, police reported that from January to August, 1,051 drivers were fined for transporting children without the proper safety devices.
According to the police statistics, at least 4 drivers a day were sanctioned for carrying children under the age of 12 without the safety devices corresponding to their weight and size as carrycot seats or booster seats.
The penalty for not using safety devices is one of the most expensive established by the Traffic Law, equivalent to $370. The fine is in addition to getting four points deducted from your driver's license.
According to Deputy Director Barquero, the numbers increased compared to the same period last year, when 973 penalties were registered for the same reason.
Of the total fines, 112 were for transporting children under 5 years of age by motorcycle, also prohibited in Traffic Law. Compared to 2019, the number of fines has increased by 23, from 89 fines to 112.
The third offense with the most fines within the same period is the transport of people outside the vehicle cabin and in the cargo area. So far this year 254 drivers were fined approximately $190 for breaking that law.
Due to the ban on driving, from May to August, there have been 81 deaths caused by traffic accidents. This is the lowest number of traffic-related deaths recorded.
During the period from January to August, 192 people have died in road accidents, of these 70 were motorcycle drivers.
The car is the second vehicle in which more people died, with 29 cases. The bicycle is third with 25 deaths.
Regarding the possible causes of death, 45 cases are linked to the recklessness of the driver, 41 to the invasion of the lane, and speeding lands in third place with 29 cases. The rest are other offenses committed by pedestrians or drivers.
The Traffic Police call on drivers to respect the Traffic Law and take precautionary measures for accidents, especially when transporting children.
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