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    Accidents, we cannot leave anything to chance

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    Accidentes, no dejar nada al azar

    Driving mopeds implies knowing and complying with the Traffic Law. Photo: Alejandro Garcia

    When a few days ago, the train ran over a 13-year-old teenager, in the main city, a fact that overwhelmed and mourned. A tragic event like always intensified fears and reflection, above all, because on the road neither drivers nor pedestrians are exempt from danger.

    In fact, mortality due to accidents, including traffic accidents, is among the first five causes of death in Cuba, according to the 2021 Health Statistics Yearbook, and the data is not insignificant, since it competes with common and highly lethality ailments such as heart disease and malignant tumors.

    It could be thought that due to the complexities of a year like 2021, in which mobility was restricted to minimum levels several times, the numbers of accidents and injuries would be ostensibly lower.

    However, the information offered to Radio Surco by Sonia Hernández Talavera, executive secretary of the Road Safety Commission in the province, puts the brakes on any assumption. “In 2021, the accident rate indicators increased compared to the previous year, registering 219 claims, a figure that is 52 higher than the previous year. The death toll was higher, with a total of 21; while 157 people were injured”.

    Economic damages for more than six million 129,000.00 pesos were accounted for in this period, but even worse, as we have already said, are the fatalities and those that are marked by the sign of disability, limitations and psychological sequelae.

    There is an accumulated life experience that reinforces the above: people on bicycles or two-wheelers almost always bear the brunt of a traffic accident. Then, we should think about the vulnerabilities that surround adolescents and young people, just because they are.

    I think, for example, of his inexperience in recognizing dangerous situations on the road, decision errors that lead to a crash, ignorance of the Traffic Law, his recklessness and the habit of moving in groups.

    If we also take into account that motorized scooters and electric bicycles have become a lifesaver for transportation and, many times, drivers are in this age range, it is clear that taking care of yourself and taking care of them is not an exaggeration. Nor are the laws that require the use of helmets and the license to drive electric mopeds, as well as the decrees and fines that apply when these provisions are not complied with. The driver's license should not be a fatuous document, but a guarantee of life.If there are any doubts, another piece of information, previously published by Invasor, helps to round out the problem: only in the first half of 2019, 19.3 percent of the injured people were adolescents under 15 years of age, who moved in cycles.

    In the rosary of causes that determine traffic accidents there are some that, like weeds, are reiterated in the reports from year to year, among them, the lack of attention to control of the vehicle, undue overtaking, excessive speed and presence of animal-drawn vehicles on the road during unauthorized hours.

    It is added to this the fact that the province's vehicles (around 24,000 in total) is not in good technical condition, which is why brake or steering failures have also caused accidents.

    There is a truism on the subject of traffic accidents and it is that the risks are avoidable and running them has its price. Looking at both sides of the street before crossing, driving within the speed limits, being sober, knowing the Traffic Law and ensuring the technical condition of the vehicles takes away chances from luck. Let's not leave anything to chance.