Officials warn motorists to keep license active

Traffic officials are promoting the fact that individuals can renew their driver’s license up to three months before they expire.

In the past, this was not a critical issue because expired licenses could be renewed easily, and fines for violations were minimal. With the new traffic law, driving with an expired license draws a fine of 114,426 colons or about $227. There also is an assessment of five points against the license.

Although physicians say they do not use the information, those seeking a new license are required to get a blood test to determine the blood type. Emergency room physicians say they need to get a hospital blood test when a motorist becomes a patient. New applicants and renewing drivers have to get a medical exam, which usually consists of answering a few questions from a physician.

The Departamento de Acreditación de Conductores is expanding its hours to 6 p.m. though Dec. 17 because there usually is a rush at Christmas for license renewals, officials said. They reasoned that with Christmas bonuses drivers are likely to think of paying the 10,000 colons that is needed to renew.

Officials also point out that driving with no license or with a suspended license is expensive if the motorist is caught. The fine is 381,420 colons or about $757. Plus the violation for not having a license costs the motorist 50 points which results on loss of driving privileges for a year. Driving on a suspended license results in 25 points, half of what is necessary to lose the right to drive.

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