Photo by Ashley Satanosky on Unsplash

The latest victim of a road accident in Puerto Rico is a 30-35 year old driver who died in the middle of a multiple collision in the direction of Bayamon to San Juan at Plaza Rio Hondo on March 5, 2020. The road had to be closed temporarily for the cleanup of an oil spill and to remove the damaged vehicles. Accidents like these are stark reminders to stay alert and obey traffic laws while driving. Although they can happen anytime, anywhere, accidents are preventable if drivers follow the rules of the road. If you’re visiting Puerto Rico and plan to tour the island, sensible actions such as obeying speed limits, avoiding driving under theinfluence of alcohol, and eliminating distractions enhance your safety and that of others.

Motor Vehicle Fatalities Rising

According to figures released by authorities, so far, there have been 43 deaths, including the latest fatality this year, six more than in 2019 when 37 were recorded. Puerto Rico, which has more than 3 million licensed drivers, has roughly 3.3 million registered vehicles. On average, 200,000 motor vehicle crashes occur each year. The causes of vehicle crashes are varied, ranging from alcohol consumption, excess speed, poor road conditions, and distracted driving.

Car accidents may cause serious injuries, and in severe cases, fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes have different consequences that not only affect the physical and mental condition; of those involved, but also imply financial and economic costs such as lost productivity, property damage or workplace losses. In addition to hospitalization and medical costs, aggrieved parties should consult personal injury lawyers, who can conduct the necessary investigations and represent their interests.

Road Safety In Puerto Rico

The Highway Safety Plan of Puerto Rico for 2020 outlines the safety problems in the country and offers strategies to improve road fatalities and injuries for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. For example, campaigns to enhance public awareness to reduce speeding are in place. Police patrols also work extra hours to enforce speed controls and seatbelt use. Distracted driving due to cell phone use is also part of police controls. Following traffic rules can drastically improve road safety while traveling if you’re driving in Puerto Rico.

Another important component of the plan is its focus on pedestrian fatalities, which represented an average of 32% of the total traffic fatalities. Lack of resources to police pedestrians that break traffic laws is a limitation. There is a plan to review the law to issue traffic fines to pedestrians, as well to decrease the annual pedestrian fatalities. As a pedestrian, make yourself visible at night by wearing light colored clothing, cross on zebra crossings, and avoid texting or using the phone while crossing the road.

Road fatalities and injuries are an unfortunate reality. However, by obeying traffic laws and regulations when driving in Puerto Rico, your chances of getting into an accident are significantly reduced, making your stay an enjoyable experience. In addition, it will lower accident figures and improve mortality rates in the country.