How dangerous is driving in Costa Rica?

It doesn’t take a civil engineer to recognize Costa Rica’s road infrastructure is lacking.

One of the biggest concerns given the saturation of Costa Rica’s hospital system due to Covid-19 are the implications on other emergency healthcare.

Right now in Costa Rica, road safety is more important than ever, since there are no guarantees that an ICU bed will be available to an injured driver, biker or pedestrian.

It doesn’t take a civil engineer to recognize that Costa Rica’s road infrastructure is lacking. And the country’s mountainous and earthquake-prone terrain doesn’t help — as we’ve written before.

So, how dangerous is driving in Costa Rica? On Costa Rica’s roads in 20191:

  • 451 people died at the site of a transit accident.

  • 2,237 people were gravely injured.

  • 16,917 people suffered a less-serious injury.

This means that every day in 2019, more than 7 people in Costa Rica either died or suffered a grave injury related to a transit accident.

To put this in context: According to the World Health Organization, Costa Rica suffered 14.78 road traffic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019.

In the Americas, this means Costa Rica’s roads were more deadly than the United States (12.67), Mexico (12.78) and Canada (5.34). But Costa Rica was safer than all countries in Central America except for Panama.

Drive safely!

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Source: MOPT. These figures dropped significantly in 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions.