Traffic police have a tradition of confiscating the license plates of vehicles with offending drivers. So the Consejo de Seguridad Vial now has 10,000 plates the agency says it will destroy after Nov. 1 if the owners do not come forward.
The plates were confiscated between September 2012 and last March. The agency said that six months is time enough for owners to come forward.
There are many reasons that owners have not done so. There might be the expense of paying the traffic fine that came with the plate confiscation. Under the new traffic law, fines are substantial and might be more expensive than a clunker.
Theoretically, drivers of vehicles with confiscated plates cannot order new ones, but there is a rumor that this could take place. In fact, some employees of the agency have been detained recently for editing the computers to remove mentions of some violations. That case still is under investigation.
Also possible is the purchase of illegal cloned plates if a driver knows where to go.
The Consejo said that drivers cannot forget the plates and get the new version from the Registro Nacional.
The drivers must first reclaim the plates and then seek new ones.
The Registro and its agents, such as a bank or Correos de Costa Rica, will check for outstanding fines for those who seek to get the upgraded plates. The security measures include a window sticker that contains the number of the plate.
Eventually all older plates are going to the junk pile.
Nov. 1 is the start of the three-month period when motorists with the last digit of their plate or placa ending in 2 can seek the new, higher-security version.
The Consejo’s Unidad de Placas y Vehículos Detenidos accepts telephone calls about confiscated plates at 2522-0973 and 2522-0974.