EFE/14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2023 — A total of 700 people lost their lives in Cuba in traffic crashes in 2022, which represents an 18% increase compared to those who died from this cause in 2021 (589), the state press reported on Tuesday.
According to the head of the specialized Transit body of the General Police Directorate, Colonel Roberto Rodríguez, quoted by the Granma newspaper, the island registered 9,848 traffic crashes last year, an increase of 17% compared to 2021, a year of lower mobility due to measures to mitigate the spread of covid-19.
Pedestrians run over accounted for 22% of the deaths, according to the newspaper, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). In total, the injured totaled 7,547, an annual increase of 28%, added the official, who mentioned as causes, as usual, social “indiscipline” and the “additional irruption of nearly 300,000 motorcycles and mopeds on the same road axis.”
“More than half of the crashes (53.2%) were due to collisions with moving vehicles, even though only 7.6% (753) had unfavorable road conditions, with potholes or cracks,” the newspaper stated.
Just two days ago, the official newspaper of Matanzas, Girón, published a contribution by a journalism student who denounced the influence of the poor condition of the roads on the high accident rate on the Island.
“It is impossible to separate these facts from the marked deterioration of the roads, primary and secondary, as well as the deficient presence of signs on the different sections of the roads. For their part, public lighting and traffic lights on the busiest arteries, sometimes, do not work properly,” read the note.
The criticism did not stop there and, based on data from the National Information and Statistics Office (Onei), the fall in investments in transport, which decreased from 11.7% in 2021 to 10.2% in 2022.
The article also mentioned the Cuban automobile fleet. “Although there are no statistics in this regard, at first glance it presents a high degree of antiquity. A good part of the cars date from the 1950s, the so-called almendrones*, or from the 1990s of the 20th century, brought from the former Soviet Union,” it added.
Idael Valdés Martínez, author of the article, also blurted out: “No one doubts the financial limitations of the country and, especially in the transport sector, but one might wonder if a truly appropriate job is being carried out in the technical inspections of vehicles, since in many cases people approach them and, at first glance, realize that they do not meet the conditions to drive on the road and thus put at risk the safety of pedestrians and drivers.”
According to the data provided yesterday, Havana, Holguín, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba registered the highest numbers of reports and increase in accidents by province.
The mortality rate was 6.2 per 100,000 inhabitants; while Sunday was the deadliest day, with one death for every 10 crashes. The age of the victims ranged from 26 to 35 years.
*Translator’s note: Almendron borrows the Spanish word for ‘almond’ to refer to old American cars, derived from their ‘almond-shape.’
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