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Pedestrian fatalities in Costa Rica currently outnumber drunk driving deaths

May 26, 2015

A total of 23 pedestrians died on Costa Rican roads during the first four months of this year. Of those, 18 were caused by negligence, Traffic Police officials reported.

Pedestrian deaths are the third most common cause of death on Costa Rican roads. Speeding tops the list (52), followed by irresponsible lane-changing (25).

That number also is higher than the number of deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. From January to April, 9 deaths were attributed to drunk driving.

Traffic Police also are concerned about the high number of pedestrian fatalities in 2014 – 78. Nine of those were children. Traffic Police reported that 56 of the 78 pedestrian deaths were attributed to victims’ “recklessness.”

Pedestrian deaths account for 17 percent of 133 deaths from accidents in the first four months of 2014. Last year a total of 355 people died on the country’s roads, 18 percent of them pedestrians.

Reports from Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) officials state that people continuously risk their lives by refusing to use crosswalks and pedestrian bridges.

Last month the ministry launched a campaign in collaboration with state-owned mobile carrier Kölbi with informational messages and warnings to pedestrians. The campaign also awards free minutes to people using pedestrian bridges.

Traffic Police Deputy Director Sonia Monge Jara called on the public to be more cautious on the road.

“We ask people to respect traffic lights, and to use crosswalks and pedestrian bridges,” she said.

Monge also warned people to use extreme caution with the arrival of the rainy season.

“Pedestrians need to be as visible as possible during rains, specially in the evenings, either by wearing reflective clothing, using flashlights or even their mobile phones as lights,” she added.

Article 147 of the country’s Traffic Law stipulates fines of ₡21,963 ($40) for pedestrians walking on roads or jaywalking. But good luck finding a sidewalk or a cop to enforce that law.

The fine for failing to use a pedestrian bridge is ₡20,000 ($37).

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