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Friday, September 22, 2023

MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are eased

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers to follow the rules of the road when traveling this weekend.

In March, Costa Rica has lifted its weekend daytime driving restrictions, in addition to suspending national weekday restrictions. That may lead to more traffic and more accidents, MOPT says.

In February, Costa Rica reported 35 road deaths. It marked the third-highest total since the coronavirus pandemic began — despite the month having just 28 days — and was the deadliest February since 2016.

“We are very concerned about these figures, because from where they are analyzed, they show very negative trends,” said German Marín Sandí, Director of the Traffic Police. 

“In fact, the three months with the most deaths, since measures began at the end of March 2020, are precisely the last three: December with 37 deaths, January with 36 and February 35 — in just 28 days, moreover.” 

Costa Rica registered 71 road deaths in January and February 2021, surpassing the figure for those months in 2020 (59), 2019 (62) and 2018 (63).

“We must all work together — pedestrians, drivers, passengers, cyclists, as well as the Traffic Police — to reverse these trends of recent months, and the first step is to respect the Traffic Law,” Marín said.

The official reminded that actions as simple as wearing seatbelts and respecting pedestrian right-of-way at crosswalks can save lives.

MOPT has also insisted that cyclists have a right to the road. Bikers can travel in the center of the lane and should not be passed until 1.5 meters of separation can be guaranteed.

Marín said respectful driving will be crucial during Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week), a period typical of heavy traffic and road incidents.

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