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Why the New Minor Accident Protocol is Not Often Used in Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – So you are in a minor fender bender in Costa Rica and the cars are blocking traffic, there is a way you are able to move the cars to the side of the road and allow traffic to pass without calling a Costa Rican traffic cop…….but how many people are going to use it and how many people know the protocol? 

There are on average 7,200 accidents each and every month in Costa Rica attended to by traffic police in Costa Rica.Minor-Car-Accident costa rica

Since January of this year minor car accidents have an an easy way to reconcile by filling out the Minor Accident Statement (DAM) , a form created by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT).

These are the requirements of an accident being declared minor:

  1. There are only 2 vehicles involved
  2. There are no injuries
  3. The vehicles are able to move
  4. There are devices to record with video and photos to document the accident

Although this system has been in place since January only 400 accidents have been reported through this manner.  Most people still call the traffic police to report on the accident……. and you wonder why this is…..I have some hypotheses that don’t take much brain power to come up with.

  1. In order to fill out the form above one of the two drivers needs to have gone onto the MOPT website, printed it out and placed it in their vehicle in case of a minor accident.  How often do you think this happens?
  2. Although you can use this form whether you have insurance or not, only those carrying insurance will have to report using this form. How many people do you know that carry additional insurance on their vehicle other than the mandatory liability insurance from marchamo?
  3.  Distrust of the drivers involved in the accident. I have grown in Costa Rica to not trust anyone, much less if there is money involved.  Too many times people say something and then do not stick to their word.  Would you trust the other driver to stick to the story of what happened if it was not written down by an impartial 3rd party? I wouldn’t.

Although this system is in place, expect traffic police to be attending just about every accident in Costa Rica, be it minor or major.  Most of us will handle minor car accidents the old fashion way calling the traffic cop or just giving the other person money if it is our fault.

 

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