Traffic-related accidents kill more than 3,200 in 2009

Traffic accidents in Peru last year killed 3,243 people and injured more than 48,000 others, according to a report cited by daily Peru.21.

The report by Peru’s ombudsman – the Defensoría del Pueblo – said that in total there were more than 86,000 traffic accidents in 2009.

In Lima, 635 people died in traffic accidents. Almost 20 percent of the accidents in the capital city were caused by mini-buses, called Combis, that can fit about 15 people and which race to pick up passengers. Almost 18 percent of accidents were caused by regular buses, 14.7 percent by cars, 10 percent by trucks and almost 5 percent by three-wheelers called mototaxis.

Despite the high number of traffic-related fatalities and injuries, they have reportedly declined since 2007.

“Nevertheless, we are still witnesses every day to poor drivers that do reckless maneuvers in order to pick up a passenger making our streets an unsafe place for ourselves and our families,” the Defensoría’s Eduardo Vega was quoted as saying.

“To reduce the number of deaths on country’s roads and highways is a responsibility of all authorities. Efforts have been made, but the rate has still not dropped enough.”

Efforts to improve Peru’s transportation system include a $150 million loan the Ministry of Transportation and Communications received from the World Bank last January. The financing was to restore more than 1,300 miles of highway in order to reduce travel time and traffic accidents.

One of the most deadly accidents recently occurred when two passenger buses collided in Peru’s northern La Libertad department. Thirty eight people were killed and more than 55 injured.

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