Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January: 80+ Die in Traffic Accidents

The month of Janaury proved a bloody one on Bolivia's roads, with several major bus crashes and
numerous smaller crashes that left around 80 people dead and several hundreds injured, many critically. Bolivia's Cardenal Julio Terrazas has called on drivers to excersize more caution and to stop drinking alcohol which led to several of this month's crashes. On January 6th the bus company Bolivia combined bad driving with mechanical failure that led to 22 deaths, on the 19th a Flota Pullman company bus from Chile smashed head-on into a logging truck whose engine had failed in the middle of the road leaving 15 dead, on the 21st a Trans-Asunta bus near Asunta rolled off a steep embankment and into a fast flowing river killing 10 and leaving 8 missing. On the 25th a bus from the company Cosmos rolled over on the Santa-Cruz Cochabamba route killing 5 because the driver was drunk. Finally, two buses one from the Copacabana line and another from the Potosí Buses company crashed head on at night on January 30th leaving 12 dead and 91 injured. Other people were killed in smaller accidents and even the former president of Bolivia Jaime Paz Zamora was confirmed to have been hospitalized for injuries sustained in a car crash and he is now being charged with homcide for the passenger of the other vehicle that he killed. Mr. Paz Zamora's blood tested for low levels of alcohol that are within the legal limit. Bus companies such as Bolivar and Sindicato Trans Copacabana have relatively good safety records whereas companies such as El Dorado and Cosmos and a variety of small lesser-known companies are involved in frequent and fatal crashes.  Febraury marks the beginning of Carnaval, sparking off months of drunken revelry during the rainy season so the road situation may not improve.

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