Driving in Costa Rica

What to Know About Costa Rica’s Changing Transit Laws

Changes to Costa Rica’s transit laws are set to become law once they are published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta. Here are some of the changes.

Hefty Fines

Some fines are going to increase with the latest reforms to the traffic law, and there are a few new categories of fines as well. For example, there will be a ₡306,850 (around $540) fine assessed to drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test for alcohol. That same fine will also apply to vehicles that emit noise or gasses that are above the established limits. The changes also affect tinted windows: any “limousine-style” or reflective window tints are illegal unless it comes from the factory and is “100% visible” from both the inside and outside.

103,679 ($175) Fines

  • Drivers who transport people outside of the cabin. But there are some exceptions: agricultural transportation, public-services maintenance vehicles, emergency vehicles, and transporting people on gravel or dirt roads.
  • Driving without the correct class of license for the vehicle.
  • Driving without a temporary permit, or if there the driver has the permit but drives without a qualified passenger.
  • Driving with more passengers than the vehicle is made for.

License Plate Removal

The dreaded license plate removal will happen when:

  • The vehicle is used for paid livery services without official authorization.
  • When sonic or gas emissions exceed established limits.
  • When a public transportation unit circulates without a ramp, or with a ramp in poor condition.
  • When the derechos de circulación have not been paid.
  • When a vehicle obstructs public streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, or is badly parked.

Another interesting development is that dump trucks will now be required to cover their loads with a tarp when driving on public roads. If a cargo vehicle has a load that is loose, covers the vehicle’s lights, or license plate overhangs the box, or impedes traffic will be fined 103,679.

Decibel Limits

  • Regarding sonic contamination, the established decibel (dB) limits are as follows:
  • Automobiles: 90 dB
  • Trucks and vans: 92 dB
  • Dump trucks and other heavy haulers: 96 dB
  • Motorcycles up to 250cc: 94 dB
  • Motorcycles larger than 250cc: 96 dB

Gas Emissions

The law established the same limits that are permitted by Riteve.

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  1. John Pacheck
    Wednesday July 19th, 2017 at 01:07 AM — Reply

    Finally ! The noise pollution from motos is unbearable. Many have NO mufflers. Thank you Costa Rica. Now see if something can be done about the constant bombardment of alarms.

    • Robert
      Wednesday July 19th, 2017 at 08:53 PM — Reply

      What makes you believe that these laws will be enforced?

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