Cameras register $1 million in fines in just 16 hours

The country has what is commonly known as a cash cow. That’s because at least 1,815 motorists do not read the newspapers or quickly forget what they read.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes reported Thursday that by 4:25 p.m. 11,815 motorists had been photographed at five points in the metro area while they exceeded the speed limit by at least 20 kph.

That means each motorist will receive a ticket carrying at least a 306,000 fine, some $600. So in just 16 hours and 45 minutes, the ministry got the rights to issue 555,390,000 in speeding fines. That’s $1.1 million if every motorist pays. Many will not, and some will carry the new system of automatic cameras to the Sala IV constitutional court, which may find the fines disproportionate.

The fine increased with the degree of speed violation. Motorists caught going more than 150 kph, some 93 mph can get a three-year prison sentence, according to the traffic law.
The ministry reported a steep reduction in speeders Thursday when compared to two days of trials with the camera system. For example April 7 there were 2,451 violators noted on the General Cañas highway near the Hotel San José Palacio.

There were 1,876 Sept. 1. But there were just 272 captured Thursday morning in an equivalent time period, the ministry said.

In addition to that camera speed trap, there is one near Terra Mall on the Florencio del Castillo highway and another in La Lima, the ministry said.

A second camera is on the General Cañas further west near the Intel Corp. plant. A fifth camera is in place on the Circunvalación between Zapote and the new overpass at Y Griega.

The traffic police are not just relying on the cameras and their radar. Each violation Thursday was verified by a traffic officer at the control center, officials said.

Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. is providing the Internet feed for the cameras.

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