News Around the Republic of Mexico
|Mexico Seeks to Prevent Drunk Driving|
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March 10, 2010
Mexico City – During the first semester of this year, alcohol tests will be enforced in 47 cities of the country, in accordance with the Mexican Road Security Initiative, a federal program seeking to prevent drunk driving and road accidents.
|4 million car accidents are reported each year in Mexico; 750,000 people are hospitalized, 24,000 die from their injuries and 40,000 become disabled, a situation that costs 126 billion pesos each year to the federal government.|
During the presentation of the program on Tuesday, the General Director of the National Center for Road Accidents Prevention (CENAPRA), Arturo Cervantes Trejo, said breathalyzers have been used for three years in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City, Mérida, Guanajuato and Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos said the 47 targeted cities have been short-listed from a longer list of 132 cities where road accident rates are particularly high. This situation is considered a serious public health problem, Córdova said, and for this reason the program will be extended to all 132 cities in 2011.
Cervantes said that CENAPRA has increased its budget to respond to this situation every year since alcohol tests were first implemented in Mexico three years ago. The 2010 Mexican Road Security Initiative represents a 62-million peso investment, he said.
Raising awareness of these accidents in order to prevent them is a priority, Cervantes said, because they cost the country between 1.5 percent and 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year.
The CENAPRA director said that 4 million car accidents are reported each year in Mexico; 750,000 people are hospitalized, 24,000 die from their injuries and 40,000 become disabled, a situation that costs 126 billion pesos each year to the federal government.
Road accidents are the primary cause of death and the second cause of physical handicap in women between 5 and 35 years of age, Cervantes said. In Mexico, 1.9 million handicaps in every 10 million are due to car accidents, he added.
Sixty three percent of the persons hospitalized after a car accident are men, and 8,000 people between 15 and 29 years old die from car accidents each year.
Cervantes said the Mexican Road Security Initiative encompasses a series of preventive measures, including identifying the towns and cities with high road accident rates, analyzing road security in these localities, conducting alcohol tests, and enforcing and promoting the use of the seatbelt and car seats.
At the end of his speech, Cervantes said Mexico has agreed with the United Nations to reduce by half its number of road accidents in the next ten years. The Mexican Road Security Initiative, similar to other governmental programs that are being implemented in other regions of the world, seeks to fulfill this commitment, the director of CENAPRA said.
For her part, the advisor of the Inter-American Development Bank, Karla González, said a new program to repair roads in Mexico and Central America will be launched shortly. Necessary measures will also be undertaken to prevent car accidents in the Puebla-Panamá Corridor, where 95% of the merchandise sold in this region transits.