When the new traffic law went into effect, critics said that the high fines would encourage corruption among traffic officers.
That prediction continues to play out as judicial investigators detained three officers Wednesday.
They are men 35, 37 and 38 years old who were working in Hatillo, on the Caldera highway and also in Paso Ancho. They were detained while on the job.
The judicial agents allege that the three men would tell motorists that they are facing gigantic fines but that they would be willing to make a private arrangement.
In one case, agents said a motorist paid 40,000 colons, about $72.
The Judicial Investigating Organization maintains a Sección Especializada de Tránsito, which investigates complaints about traffic policemen.
The agency said that sometimes motorists had not committed a traffic violation but that they still were approached by an officer of the Policía de Tránsito.
In response to some of the complaints and criticism, lawmakers passed a revised traffic law in September 2012. But the fines still are ample. A litany of violations carry the top fine of 280,000 colons, about $500. They include speeding 120 kph (74.4 mph) or more,
driving under the influence, driving with an expired or suspended license, passing in a no-passing zone or on a curve, passing on the right. crossing into the oncoming lane, making an illegal u turn or making an unauthorized left turn.
Even a minor violation such as having a license plate in an incorrect position draws a 20,000-colon fine. That is about $36 at the current rate of exchange.