14ymedio, Havana, 9 April 2018 — A traffic crash took the lives of two people on Sunday afternoon and left four others injured, including two children, on the road from Ranchuelo to Cienfuegos in Villa Clara province. The incident involved a Moskovich car trying to overtake another vehicle, according to a note in the official press.
The deceased were Jorge Lantigua García, 52 years old, who was the driver of the Moskovich, and Yasmani Bárbaro León Cordero, 28 years old, both residents of the Villa Clara municipality of Ranchuelo. The latter received “serious injuries resulting from the accident, and died shortly afterwards,” the note said.
Among the four injured are two children, ages 4 and 5, residents of the municipality of Santo Domingo, who are stable and under observation at the Pediatric Hospital José Luis Miranda, Santa Clara
The two adults who were also injured, ages 23 and 24, were taken to the Arnaldo Milián Castro Provincial Hospital in Santa Clara; one of them has serious injuries.
In recent weeks the official press has been filled with news of crashes, several of them massive and involving trucks equipped for the transport of passengers, something very common on the island given the chronic problems of providing transportation as a public service.
At the beginning of this year a wave of fatal crashes led the official newspaper Granma to publish an article in which it demanded greater urgency in the repair of roads and, especially, the section of the highway between Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus, which the official press called “an asphalt cemetery.”
Recently, faced with the high number of fatal crashes on Cuban roads, the authorities turned to a road safety education program organized and financed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Canadian company Sherritt.
Traffic crashes are the fifth cause of death in Cuba, with a daily average of 31 crashes. According to the latest available data, in the first half of 2017 there were 1,070 crashes, resulting in 314 deaths* and 3,478 injuries.
*Translator’s note: Transportation fatality rates are generally compared country-to-country based on deaths per number of inhabitants, per number of registered vehicles, and per miles/kilometers traveled. On measure of deaths per inhabitant, Cuba had the lowest rate in 2013 among 10 Latin American countries, with a rate almost exactly equal to that of the European Union. However, per registered vehicle, Cuba’s death rate was second only to Ecuador’s, and roughly ten times that of the European Union, making clear that the lower number per inhabitant is a reflection of the very low rates of travel in Cuba relative to other Latin American countries. Death rates based on distance traveled, generally the best comparison, were not available because few Latin American countries collect this data.
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