New traffic law produces early harvest of 454 tickets

Traffic officials said Monday that already officers have issued 454 tickets for violations under the new traffic law that went into effect Friday. There were 79 cases of motorists who had not had their vehicle inspected for safety, 60 persons who failed to wear a seatbelt and 57 motorcycle drivers or passengers who were not wearing a reflective belt or vest, said officials.

Traffic officers were out in the center of San José Monday in an effort to catch motorists who did not respect the license plate restrictions. Mondays vehicles with plates ending in 1 or 2 are prohibited by the measure designed to reduce downtown congestion. Although lawmakers had two years to write the traffic law, they forgot to include this prohibition. So President Laura Chinchilla had to issue a hurry-up decree Friday.

Traffic police are setting up checkpoints on back streets and in less traveled areas in an effort to catch motorists who would try to sneak by with prohibited plates. Each day two digits are prohibited, ending with 9 and 0 Fridays.

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