Cuban Police Ask Drivers To Pay ‘Due Attention’ To Reduce Road Deaths by 25 Percent

Cuban authorities say that 90% of accidents are due to distractions. (Radio Rebelde)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 28 June 2023 — As of June 1st 290 people had lost their lives in traffic accidents in Cuba. This is 12 fewer than last year in the same period, but there is no loophole for complacency. In the same period of time, 412 Spaniards died for the same reason in a country that is five times the population of the Island.

“There is still a lack of perception in the population of the risks that can lead to a traffic accident,” said Roberto Rodríguez Fernández, head of the Specialized Traffic Body of the General Directorate of the Police, who this time quantified the accidents that could be avoided.

According to the information disseminated in the official press, the colonel offered the accident data by tiptoeing around the authorities. Just a day before, the Minister of Transport himself, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, placed the roads that present “an unfavorable technical state” at 40%, but Rodríguez Fernández preferred to quantify citizen responsibility.

“We lack signs; the technical states of the road and vehicles are not adequate, but if you drive with caution and pay due attention, we could avoid 35% of traffic accidents, 25% of the deceased and 28% of the injured in the country,” said the colonel.

Rodríguez offered the data for the first five months of the year at a press conference. There were 3,620 traffic accidents and 2,807 people were injured, which means 448 accidents and 198 fewer injuries. “As long as a human being loses his life or is injured, we have to be dissatisfied with what has been done,” he said.

Next, he attributed to the “human factor” the cause of 90% of accidents, of which up to 75% are due to distractions. “When we talk about not attending to the control of the vehicle, we refer to any act or maneuver that prevents the correct concentration in driving. Reading a document, answering a call or sending messages,” he said.

Twenty-nine percent of accidents occurred due to “violations of the road,” which include skipping the signals and invading the opposite lane. Nineteen percent of the deaths and 29% of the injuries occurred for this reason, and, in addition, in 82% of the accidents due to this cause, at least one person died.

Rodríguez also referred to the accidents that occurred due to speeding, and although he did not give a percentage – now exceeding 100% – he said that they have decreased, but that the average number of deaths in these cases is one person for every seven accidents. Although speeding accidents decreased during the period, the number of deaths from this cause has increased.

Six out of ten accidents on the Island leave fatalities, the colonel said, especially in one of the most fatal cases: the crash of vehicles. Disregard of pedestrians also has a high mortality rate. For every five of these, one person dies, usually the pedestrian.

As for the ages, the most affected are in the range from 21 to 35, while the majority of deaths belong to the 46 to 55. The most dangerous time slot is the one that takes place between 3 and 6 in the afternoon, with a regular increase on weekends.

“Seventy percent of accidents in the country occur in urban areas. Among these, 81% are in residential areas,” added the official, who warned that the only provinces in which the three indicators (accidents, deaths and injuries) increased were Pinar del Río and, above all, Villa Clara.

The data indicate that almost two Cubans die a day on the roads. The most serious accident that occurred this June (a month not counted in the data offered on Tuesday) occurred in Puerto Escondido, between Mayabeque and Matanzas. A tanker truck and a passenger truck collided near the Bacunayagua bridge, leaving four dead and eight injured. Among the fatalities was a ten-year-old girl, Nayeis González Villamil, who could not overcome the serious injuries with which she was admitted to the Elíseo Noel Caamaño pediatric hospital, in Matanzas and died 48 hours later.

Cuba’s aging motor fleet and the shortage of public transport is one of the causes for many private vehicles to adapt for collective passenger transport without safety conditions, favoring accidents with fatal results.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.