International Road Safety Expert Advises Cuban Authorities / 14ymedio
Posted on July 16, 2015
14ymedio, 15 July 2015 — The president of the International Automobile
Federation (FIA), Jean Todt, met in Havana with Cuban authorities in
charge of transport to find ways to reduce accidents on the island’s
roads. Todt is in Cuba on Monday in his capacity as United Nations
ambassador for road safety.
The expert has launched a Latin American tour that will also include
Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. The aim is to help combat traffic accidents,
which worldwide cause over a million deaths and 50 million injuries a
year, something that Todt calls “a pandemic.” Speaking to Agence France
Presse, the FIA ??president said that “an awareness at the highest level
in each country is necessary, so that traffic accidents are placed at
the same level as AIDS and Ebola.”
With his Cuban partners, Todt talked about the age of the vehicle fleet,
two-thirds of which is made up of American cars from the ’50s or Soviet
cars from the ‘70s and ‘80s. “There are about 600,000 vehicles in the
country, but only 5% of them are newer than 10 years and about 50% are
over 30 years old,” Todt said. “It requires education, enforcement,
improvements in infrastructure and rejuvenating vehicles,” he added.
Deputy Transport Minister, Oscar del Toro Quesada acknowledged that
Cuban authorities face huge challenges in this area. After government
restrictions lasting half a century, in January 2014 they began to allow
the free sale of vehicles, but the astronomical prices have only
supported a few transactions.
In 2009 a road safety plan was launched, which foresaw greater legal and
institutional support, training and education, maintenance of roads and
safer vehicles, but this strategy has not yet borne fruit.
Nearly 700 people died on Cuban roads in 2014*, a rate of 6.2 deaths per
100,000 inhabitants, higher than the previous year (five per 100,000).
In the first half of 2015, there have been 346 deaths.
*Translator’s note: Traffic deaths in Cuba per 100,000 motor vehicles
are more than ten times the rate in the United States. Traffic deaths
are generally compared based on deaths per miles/kilometers driven, but
that data is not available for Cuba.
Source: International Road Safety Expert Advises Cuban Authorities /
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