New major effort to reduce road deaths

The central government is launching a major effort to reduce highway deaths. Casa Presidencial said that the project includes seven major components and 89 separate initiatives.

Among the efforts will be an evaluation and possible revisions to the traffic code, said the government. The announcement comes at a time when lawbreakers seem to do so unmolested by traffic police. One government report estimated that half of the motorcycle drivers in the country are unlicensed.

Anyone who drives knows that motorcyclists take big chances. That is shown in the report Thursday that motorcycle deaths increased from 122 in 2015 to 200 in 2016. There also have been increases in deaths of those on bikes as well as pedestrians.

The announcement by Casa Presidencial said that priorities will be promoting the proposed bike path from La Sabana to the Universidad de Costa Rica and a major public relations effort to change the vehicle culture here.

Vice President Ana Helena Chacón presented the plan that has been in the works since February. The name of the project is the Pacificación de las Vías Públicas, or “pacification of the public roadways.”

The road deaths also are being considered a health issue with the government ready to promote more Sundays without vehicles on Paseo Colon in San José, according to the announcement. Also planned is a national road education week in the public schools in June.

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