QCOSTARICA – The increase in vehicle traffic and the rise in the number of road deaths, typical of the month of December, has the director of the Traffic Police, Germán Marín, concerned especially in the current pandemic situation.
According to Marín, so far this month of December, 20 people have been reported killed in road accidents, not counting those who lost their lives in clinics and hospitals hours or days after the accidents.
For Marín, this is a very high figure, especially taking into account that there are still 11 days left in December, “the most critical” in terms of traffic accident incidence, he said.
In all of April, for example, the total number of road fatalities was 13 people, a figure that, by far, was already exceeded in just over three weeks in December.
In fact, in about 36 hours, between this Friday and Saturday (December 18 and 29), four deaths were reported in traffic accidents.
One of them in Santa Teresa de Cóbano, in Puntarenas; another on the Ruta 27, between San José and Caldera, and another in Naranjo, in Alajuela. Details of the fourth were not available.
“Unfortunately there is a vehicle dynamic that has been increasing. The unfortunate thing is not only that there are many cars circulating, but that the number of accidents has also increased,” said the Director.
‘Pandemic and more injuries, a fatal combination’
Marín is aware of the urgency of reactivating, Marín said, “with the greatest of respect, to drivers, who are not obliged to go out to work, to prioritize their outing and, if driving (car or motorcycle), to maintain a responsible attitude.”
“The interest is not that people do not go out. We all have the right to go out to work. The point is that we do it in the most responsible way,” added the director of the traffic police.
Marín said that people should find “a balanced way that we do not all run into each other on the road. And that we make responsible decisions. There are people who make ‘u’ turns, overtaking in the wrong direction, who take advantage of 100, 200 meters of free space on the road to accelerate fully. These types of actions, at the end of the day, can increase traffic accidents”.
Another concern is the increased number of traffic accident injuries puts added stress on hospital services already pressured by the covid-19 emergency.
Health officials have repeated the near-collapse in hospital services. Although the number of cases of covid-19 has been steady the last week, the number of covid-19 patients in hospital has increased to almost full capacity.
“I Remind drivers to stay alert on the road. Even the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) has made the call that hospitals are at their capacity. There is a fatal combination between the pandemic and injuries from traffic accidents,” Marín added.
Since the first weekend of the month, and particularly this Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19, population centers with high commercial density — such as Zapote, San José and Lindora, to name a few — have seen a large increase in congestion.
The General Cañas (Ruta 1 between San José and Alajuela), Ruta 27 (San José and Caldera) and Ruta 32 (Limon and San Jose) have all experienced higher levels of traffic flow.
In the latter two, congestion was exacerbated this weekend due to the movement of tourists to the beaches.
The Politica de Transito (Traffic Police) will carry out around 5,000 operations this month, from speed controls to random spot checks and drunk driving.