José Moreno Moreno, a speeding driver on the Arraijan – La Chorrera highway never made it to his Saturday morning appointment in Panama City on June 24.
Instead, he became the latest statistic in Panama’s ongoing road carnage: 28 dead in June including two children moved down this week, bringing the number of victims in less than six months to 226, well on the way to surpassing last year’s grim total.
Over four times that number of injury victims have required hospital treatment.
The appalling statistics in a country with less than four million people have produced no apparent signs of major concern from traffic authorities apart from musings about the major causes of accidents use of smartphones, speeding and use of alcohol and drugs. There are no draconian sanctions to rein in drivers who abuse their license to drive. (The licenses are issued after a short test navigating plastic cones in a parking lot, not with an examiner on a highway). Insurance companies seem oblivious to accident records, seat belts are seen as an interior decoration, and there are no visible government awareness campaigns.
Maybe it’s time to introduce and enforce a points system, with retesting for defaulters and car insurance renewal rates linked to driving records.