Peru’s roads are among the most deadly in Latin America, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.
The WHO’s 2013 report on road safety said that Peru has 15.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Countries that have a higher fatality rate include Venezuela at 37.2 per 100,000 and Brazil at 22.5 per 100,000. Mexico’s rate is 14.7 per 100,000, while Chile’s is 12.3 per 100,000.
The WHO’s study, which was reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper and local Peruvian dailies, says there were 555 fatalities in Peru from traffic accidents in 2012, in addition to almost 4,000 injuries.
Observers of Peru are well-aware of the dangers on Peru’s roads. Last week, 35 people were killed when their bus skidded off a mountain road, over a cliff and into the river on the road to Oxapampa in central Peru. Similar accidents occur regularly, prompting President Ollanta Humala last week to call for greater safety on the country’s highways.
While the bus accidents on mountain roads are regularly reported by the media, largely because dozens of people are killed in any one accident, most of the victims of lack of road safety in Peru are in cities. In Lima, most accidents are caused by speeding, drunken driving, or by imprudent pedestrians using prohibited crossing shortcuts on highways.
Elvira Moscoso, the head of Peru’s transportation regulator Sutran, said that 92 percent of victims were due to accidents in cities.
The WHO report added that Peru is only one of a few countries in Latin America where there is no reliable data on the cause of the accidents.