Thursday, February 7, 2013

Death Speeding Down El Salvador’s Roads

I wrote a little about traffic accidents / violence two weeks ago. Well, Edgardo Ayala has a more thorough write-up on some of the dangers on the streets in Death Speeding Down El Salvador’s Roads. He mentions poor maintenance of vehicles, failure to obey traffic signals, and the fact that so few passengers wear seat belts and helmets. That makes for a pretty dangerous situation.
The combination of widespread disregard for traffic regulations and poor vehicle and road controls puts El Salvador among the countries of Latin America with the highest rates of traffic-related deaths.
A Dec. 5 accident in which six people died when the car they were travelling in crashed near Santiago de María, 115 kilometres east of San Salvador, is just one of the many tragic accidents featured daily in the news.
“Traffic accidents are one of our leading emergencies; there are so many that we can barely cope,” rescue team paramedic Carlos Fuentes told IPS.
El Salvador has an average of 24.5 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in a population of 6.2 million, ranking sixth on the list of countries in the region with the highest number of deaths in traffic accidents.
I spent nearly all of 1997 in El Salvador. When I returned in 2004, I thought that drivers had actually started to be more careful - stopping before turning on red and stopping for pedestrians, at least once in while. I was only there for two weeks in 2004 so those observations weren't based on too much observation.

What I've really noticed since since 2004 is the congestion. There are so many cars, buses, and micros on the streets.

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