Aggressive new traffic cops on the prowl in downtown area

Motorists take heed. There is a new group of traffic police on the streets of the capital and they actually are handing out tickets for such violations as talking on cell telephones while driving and parking a vehicle badly.

The transport ministry said that 32 new officers graduated last week and have joined the usual group of 12 officers in the center of the city. They have been working downtown for a week.

However, last Thursday they were sent to the festival at Palmares where they issued 346 traffic tickets.

But back on the city streets that racked up 99 tickets for badly parked vehicles and 120 tickets for violation of the downtown license plate restriction.

The area of coverage was along Avenida Segunda, Barrio Tournón and as far south at the Estación al Pacifico.

Tickets for badly parked vehicles have been rare in the center city, but police now see these as conditions hampering the flow of traffic.

The license plate restriction keeps 20 percent of the vehicles out of the center city on any given day based on the last digit of the license plate.

The traffic police also are doing the unthinkable: They cited six persons for talking on the cell phone while driving. That is a 99,000 colons fine, about $200.

The others are: ignoring the plate restriction, 21,000 colons or about $43; parking badly, 49,000 colons, about $100, and not using the seat belt, another $100.

The officers also impounded five cars and five motorcycles for more serious violations like expired registration, said the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

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