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Wild Costa Rica

Photo via Ministry of Public Transport

Costa Rica school-break road surveillance operation begins

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Published on Monday, July 1, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Monday, the mid-year school break began for around 1 million kids, which often results in a spike in road activity, prompting Traffic Police road surveillance operations.

According to the Ministry of Public Education, the school's middle-of-the-year vacation runs from July 1 to 12. Then, students will return to school on July 15. The conclusion of the academic year is set for Friday, December 13.

However, certain private schools follow the North American academic year timetable, with lessons beginning in August 2023 and ending in July 2024. Spring Break, which coincides with Easter, and Christmas Holidays take place between Christmas and New Year's.

During the school break, families often rush to the beaches and countryside. Police urge drivers to obey traffic laws as they will be out in force.

The Ministry of Public Transport has said that about 1,500 traffic police officers, over 160 patrols, over 170 motorcycle officers, and 25 tow trucks would be on the road.

Officers are looking for drunk driving, speeding, transporting children without safety equipment, driving on sidewalks, driving without a driver's license, and doing illegal U-turns, among other offenses.

Drivers may avoid any complications by following the police's recommendations such as:

  • Never drive when drowsy. Before departing on a journey, the driver must have slept for at least eight hours. If the driver is exhausted, it is best to stop and relax before continuing. At least two drivers should travel in the same car. If one of the drivers is unable to continue driving, the other can take over.

  •  Avoid overloading the cart with luggage, since this may cause instability in the vehicle. This may make driving more difficult and limit the vehicle's capacity to stop. It also exerts pressure on the car's tires.

  • Due to the lack of seatbelts, do not carry more passengers than the car can accommodate. This increases the likelihood of an accident involving both passengers and drivers.


  • All children under the age of 12 who travel in the car should be provided with appropriate safety gear.

  • Before traveling, always check the car's condition, including the electrical system, tires, brakes, and gasoline.

  • Avoiding speeding is vital, especially on lengthy travels. "People are often anxious to get to their destination, which leads to irresponsible driving, such as speeding or overtaking in a restricted zone," police added.


  • When going along wildlife paths, always slow down to prevent running over an animal. Animals are constantly crossing the roadways.

  • One of the most fundamental advice is to never drink and drive, or drive while under the influence of any other substance. Alcohol, drugs, or prescriptions may impair brain function and muscular coordination. Driving when intoxicated is risky.


  • Avoid driving when wearing sandals since the upper strap may become trapped on the pedals, causing the driver to lose control (speeding or stopping abruptly).

  •  When driving or riding as a passenger on a motorbike, ATV, quad, or bicycle, always wear light or luminous clothing, a helmet, and turn on the lights at night. Never carry children under the age of five.

So far this year, more than 3,500 DUI tests were applied by Traffic Police. Of these, police identified over 687 positive DUIs

As of April 2024, there were 156 deaths in traffic accidents. Of these, 82 were motorcyclists (54%).

Last year police reported over 500 deaths in traffic accidents. Of the total number of fatalities, 48% were motorcyclists.

What additional tips would you provide drivers for avoiding crashes during the mid-year school vacations?
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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