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Country to Join International Safe Highways Initiative

Alarmed at increasing highway death tolls, Costa Rican transit authorities hope to turn to the United Nations for help and funds to make roads here safer.

This week, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) and the Costa Rican Automobile Club launched a campaign called “Safe Highways,” which seeks to collect at least 250,000 signatures to present to the United Nations in November, alongside 140 other countries who are also carrying out signature-collection campaigns, according to a statement from MOPT.

The Automobile Club has booklets with space for 3,300 signatures it plans to present to Costa Ricans when they take their cars to be inspected at branches of Riteve SyC, the Spanish-Costa Rican company in charge of mandatory technical vehicle inspections.

Signature-collection efforts will also focus on shopping centers and schools (children’s signatures will be valid).

The campaign is a way to encourage citizens to take road safety into their own hands rather than relying on the government to change things, the statement said.

Most roadway deaths are the result of drivers’ bad decisions, such as speeding, driving drunk and unwise maneuvers. Also, 25% of these deaths are the result of errors by walkers or bikers.

During the first seven months of 2007, 207 people have died in roadway accidents.

Other initiatives MOPT is taking to improve roadway safety include obtaining new vehicles for Transit Police, installing new traffic lights and building pedestrian bridges, the statement said.



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