Road accidents in Venezuela caused a record five thousand deaths in 1974 and injured 100,000 others.
GV Traffic on motorway (3 shots)
CU Newspaper headlines (3 shots) of accident death
SV Wrecked vehicles in various accidents (6 shots)
SV Policeman directing traffic
GV PAN Damaged car towed away
SV Various accidents (5 shots) (5 shots)
SV Overturned car being turned over and towed away (4 shots)
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Background: Road accidents in Venezuela caused a record five thousand deaths in 1974 and injured 100,000 others. They are now the major cause of death in the country and the problem is forcing the authorities to rethink the entire transport situation.
In the capital, there are more than half a million cars and only 250 traffic officials to maintain control. The country is rich in oil so petrol is cheap and there is an abundance of big American cars.
There are few busses in Caracas, a city of 2.4 million people, and taxis are the only other means of public transportation. Studies to build an underground railway have been going on since 1965 and officials of the transport Ministry say that plans for first stage of the main line would cut right through the city from west to east have been completed.
The lack of public transport means too many cars roaring through the streets of Caracas, only to be stalled by giant traffic jams.s
The situation has deteriorated so much -- with a road accident every two hours in country -- that steps are being taken to make the driving test much more stringent. It may mean that in the future Venezuelans will have to be examined by psychiatrist to prove they are fit to drive.
Recently, an expert on road deaths said road accident killed more people than any other cause in Venezuela.
Dr. Alberto Jacir, President of the Venezuelan Road medicine Association and the Latin American Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, said that the last year five thousand of the injured in road accidents had become crippled for life.
Recently published statistics showing that young people between the ages of 15 and 25 provide the bulk of road deaths, seem to give support to his statement.
Road institutes, psychiatrists and officials statistics agree that car drivers rather than mechanical failure are responsible for the accidents. A third of road accidents are attributed to alcohol, followed by imprudence, unskilled drivers, physical fatigue, emotional streets and drug consumption.