2013-10-15

The doghouse: Costa Rican traffic accident law

Costa Rica has the stupidest traffic law I have ever seen. In the tradeoff between preserving evidence about an accident and avoiding congestion, Costa Rica firmly chooses the side of evidence preservation. In other words, if you're involved in any sort of traffic accident - however minor - you're supposed to leave the car exactly where it was, ignore the congestion this causes, and wait several hours for the police.

Just today, when returning from the shopping mall, it took us 20 minutes to overcome a distance of 250 meters, because of this:


The accident was absolutely minor; only the fenders on the cars were out of shape. Yet, these two cars stood like this, almost completely blocking a major roundabout, waiting for the police.

How anyone in Costa Rica thinks this kind of legislation is acceptable, is beyond me. Economic damage caused by the congestion is tremendous, and in most cases, by far exceeds the cost of the accident.

There might be a case of leaving the wreckage where it is if there's a major accident involving heavy injuries, but if people leave their cars in the middle of the road after a fender bender, the fines should be stiff.

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