Costa Rica Tackles Surge in Traffic Fatalities

Costa Rica has seen a significant increase in the number of road accidents and fatalities in 2023, underscoring the urgent need to improve driver safety measures. The main reasons identified for this alarming trend include speeding, drunk driving and careless maneuvering. Emergency response services have been involved in more than 500,000 incidents, an average of one per minute across the country. The Costa Rican Red Cross reported an increase in the number of deaths to 1,731, an increase of 213 from the previous year, and the number of transfers of critically ill patients increased to 9,520.
The predominant incidents observed were high-speed rollovers, head-on collisions and hit-and-run accidents. According to Juan Carlos Vargas of CRC, alcohol consumption exacerbates careless driving behavior such as improper overtaking and distraction. The traffic police noted that the combination of speeding, drunk driving and incorrect lane changes often led to more serious accidents. Employee Steven Ramirez noted that drivers often overtake at unsafe speeds with impaired judgment due to alcohol, which leads to loss of control of the vehicle and fatalities.

In response, Costa Rica's traffic authorities are expanding police patrols, installing checkpoints and speed limiters throughout the country. Minister of Public Works Sebastian Vega stressed the importance of personal responsibility for road safety, urging drivers to remain vigilant and avoid distractions. He stressed that road safety should be a daily priority for everyone.

Pedestrians also contribute to traffic accidents, often due to careless behavior such as suddenly crossing the road and walking on the highway, which leads to more than 35 deaths per month. The Traffic Police plans to continue using data-driven strategies and strengthen oversight to reduce speeding and prevent irresponsible driving.


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