COSTA RICA HAS THE HIGHEST TRAFFIC FINES IN THE AMERICAS
Traffic fines are at least 100% of the MONTHLY minimum wage of a
Costa Rican full-time worker which is around US$ 450 per month.
Whenever the minimum wage goes up, traffic fines go up too.
The following traffic violations are 100% of the minimum monthly wage:
- Driving too fast (1 km/h too fast or 100 km/h too fast makes no difference)
Driving faster than 150 km/h (95 miles per hour) = minimum 1 year in jail
Maximum speed is 80 km/h (50 miles per hour). Check the speed signs on the road.
- Not using seat belts (back seats too!)
- Ignoring a red traffic light (also when you are in the middle of nowhere)
Turning right on a red traffic light is NOT allowed in Costa Rica
- Making a left or right turn where not allowed
- Driving with more than 0.5 milligram alcohol per 1 liter of blood
Driving with more than 0.75 milligram alcohol = minimum 1 year in jail
Causing deadly accident with more than 0.5 mg = minimum 5 years in jail
- Talking on a cell phone while driving
- Not stopping for slower traffic (pedestrians, bikes) when they are crossing
a road (even on places where they are not allowed to cross a road)
- Passing another vehicle when you cannot see the traffic coming from the
other direction (passing before mountain tops, road curbs etc.)
- Using the roads as a race track, racing against other drivers
The following traffic violations are 125% of the minimum monthly wage:
- Trying to bribe a police officer
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A TRAFFIC TICKET ??
Control the damage, be smart and fair, and take your loss.
Show the car rental company your traffic ticket and pay the car rental company.
They accept credit cards to pay for traffic fines.
All car rental companies have direct access to the traffic police database and
can check for traffic violations by passport number, driver's licence number and
car licence plate number.
Not paying to the car rental company will mean that you are probably stopped
by the airport or border police at the moment of check-in or boarding.
When stopped by the police your fine will be doubled and can only be paid in
cash with Costa Rica colones. No US dollar bills or credit cards are accepted.
Even worse, the police will take all the time of the World to "process" your
payment to make sure you will miss your flight.
Flying on a non-refundable ticket will mean you have to pay a full-fare one-way
ticket back home! Don't expect any flexibility of the airlines in these cases.
BY COSTA RICAN LAW, INSURANCE COMPANIES DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY
A TRAFFIC VIOLATION !!