Road Safety Crisis in Ecuador: Analyzing the High Fatality Rates
Ecuador’s High Road Fatality Rate
Ecuador has been grappling with a significant road safety issue, with a high fatality rate that has become a considerable cause for concern. Ecuador’s road fatality rate, based on official statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), ranks it second only to Venezuela in Latin America. The figures indicate that Ecuador has an average of 28 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants from road crashes, surpassing the global average of 18 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
The National Traffic Agency’s Role
The National Traffic Agency Ministry of Transport and Public Works is the lead agency in Ecuador tackling this issue. It is budgeted nationally and partially funds a road safety strategy. The agency’s functions include coordination, legislation, and monitoring and evaluation of road safety strategies. The country has set targets to reduce fatalities by 40% between 2016 and 2020.
Cause of Accidents
Ecuador’s National Transit Agency (ANT) disclosed that 50.09% of accidents are attributable to inexperience or careless driving, while 13.2% are caused by the disregard for regulations. Excessive speed accounts for 12.31% of accidents, while 9.73% are due to drinking. External conditions and carelessness of others cause 7.69% and 6.99% of accidents, respectively. Unfortunately, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists bear the brunt of these accidents.
A tragic vehicular accident involving a passenger bus in a rural area of central Ecuador left 13 people dead and 37 injured after the bus fell into a deep ravine. Preliminary investigations into the accident suggest that brake failure is the most likely cause. This tragic event is considered one of the most fatal bus crashes in Ecuador’s recent history. There were at least 50 people on the bus at the time of the accident.
In another shocking incident, a bus lost its brakes, hit another vehicle at high speed, and rolled over four times, killing at least 24 people and injuring 22. The accident left several houses along the highway near Ecuador’s capital severely damaged. The majority of the passengers aboard the bus were Colombian nationals, but some Venezuelan nationals were also among the dead. It appears that the bus’s brakes failed, causing the driver to lose control and hit an oncoming car before crashing into poles and houses as it rolled.
Impact on National Health
Road traffic accidents contribute significantly to deaths in Ecuador, being the second leading cause of death in the country. The Latin American country has a high annual mortality rate due to road traffic accidents of 33 per 100,000 people in the population. This is the highest mortality rate of any Latin American country and one of the highest outside Africa. Road safety watchdog Justicia Vial reports that 4,800 people are killed in transport accidents in Ecuador each year, translating to an average daily death toll of 13 people.
Addressing the Issue
Addressing this road safety crisis requires a multi-pronged approach. While the National Traffic Agency Ministry of Transport and Public Works is working on its road safety strategy, more needs to be done in terms of driver education, stricter enforcement of traffic regulations, and improvements in road infrastructure. The high mortality rates due to road accidents in Ecuador highlight the urgent need for action.
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