Bill would require moving vehicles in minor crashes

A unique aspect of the Costa Rican highway laws is that in the event of an accident, even a minor one, the motorists are supposed to keep the vehicles stationary in the highway until police and accident inspectors arrive.

Never mind that it is 5:15 p.m. and the slightly damaged vehicles are blocking a main roadway. Never mind that the police and an inspector might be 90 minutes away. Never mind that the major damage is the red lens of a vehicle tail light.

That has been the law, and the policy was restated in the 2012 traffic code revision.

Now the lawmakers from the Partido Liberación  Nacional and the Movimiento Libertario want to change this.

They have presented a proposed revision in the traffic law that would allow motorists involved in an accident where the only damage was material to move their vehicles.

In fact, if they do not, the revision would call for a 280,000-colon traffic citation. That’s about $515.

The lawmakers, Liberación members Michael Arce Sancho and Antonio Álvarez Desanti and Libertario’s Otto Guevara Guth, cite a constitutional right of free transit.

The summary to the bill, 19.402, said that traffic accidents average about 138 a day. In 2012 there were more than 50,000, it said.

The summary encourages motorist to take photos or video of the accident before moving the vehicles off the roadway.

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