October 12th, 2012 – In Costa Rica, 1,350,000 drivers have a driver’s license, though it sometimes seems their driving skills may be a bit lacking.
320 people have died on the roadways so far this year, and 239 accidents occurred, many caused by simple driver negligence.
Each day, 400 people in Costa Rica take their driver’s test, of which only half pass. Those who don’t pass often crash with the security cones, miss stop signs, kill their engines, or fail to yield. Most of these drivers-license-hopefuls learned to drive with a parent, friend, or someone they know.
Now, road security authorities (Direccion de Seguridad Vial) want to avoid having those who are not prepared or under-prepared to drive sharing the nation’s roadways. As a result, their plan is that as of March 2013, those who want to obtain a new driver’s license will have to graduate from a private driving school.
The first step will be to regulate the 27 existing driving schools in the country. As of January, all of these schools will have to register and enroll their instructors in various courses and tests. Seguridad Vial will assess these private instructors, who will have to pass a strict test before being able to instruct others.
The second step is to make graduation from these certified schools a mandatory requirement to test for a driver’s license.
Driver’s education will also become part of the standard curriculum for high school students. Those who complete driver’s education in high school will not be required to attend one of the private driving schools.
The measure, which has the support of the President, is similar to requirements in other countries in Latin America.