QCR – The Comisión Costarricense de Cooperación con la Unesco (Costa Rican Commission for Cooperation with Unesco), a commission attached to the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) considers the minimum age for driving in Costa Rica should be 21.

Commission President Rocio Solis said that the proposal to reform the Ley de Transito (Traffic Law) is based on different researches that show that young people under the age of 21 do not have enough neurological maturity to make decisions and that leads them to cause traffic accidents.

“This is not a whimsical request, there is a series of investigations where it has been shown that the majority of traffic accidents among young people occur because there is not enough maturity, decision making is more impulsive and in a group they are at greater risk to act in a dangerous way,” said Solís.

Solid said that the Commission will send the proposal to the Legislative Assembly by the middle of June.

Solis, however, added that the proposal by is not a complete ban on drivers under the age of 21, rather that young drivers be obligated to travel with a licensed adult.

A total of 124 people have died at the scene of traffic accidents in the first 87 days of 2017. (Photo Alfonso Quesada / La Nacion)

The statistics

Young people between the ages of 15 and 19 are not the oldest group that dies as a result of traffic accidents, according to the Road Safety Council (Cosevi).

Of the people who died in traffic accidents between 2012 and 2014, according to Cosevi records, 6% were between 15 and 19 years old. The group representing the most deaths in traffic accidents are people between 20 and 24 years was 12% of the total deaths. The rest of age groups oscillate between 1% and 10%.

These figures only refer to deaths at the scene of the incident, they do not include those who died in a medical center after the accident.

In 2013, 294 road deaths were recorded on road accidents; In 2014 the number increased to 355, and in 2015 the number of deaths in accidents was 398.

Last year, in 2016, a total of 448 people died at the scene of a traffic accident, of which 42% were under the age of 30.

If we add the number of people who died in hospital as a result of a traffic accident, the number of deaths increase drastically.