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  1. Road Safety Education, an Unresolved Issue in Panama EFE | 11 Jun 2017 12.48pm People who are risking their lives crossing highways on foot, overtaking vehicles on the right, buses that dangerously exceed the speed limits... This is all in the day on the roads in Panama, a country that has, in road safety education, one of its major pending issues. "Since I've lived in Panama< i have not driven. I am afraid, people are very aggressive behind the steering wheel. Every time I go to take a taxi, I try to ride in a car with a seatbelt, but almost none have them in the rear," acknowledged to EFE a young European woman, who declined to give her name. In this small Central American country 440 people died last year in different traffic accidents, almost 20 more than in 2015. A not inconsiderable amount taking into account the fact that Panama is a country of just over 4 million inhabitants. So far this year, the figure already exceeds 200 people, according to the data of the transit authority (ATTT). The spokesman for the Movement of Victims of Violence Vial of Panama, Toribio Diaz, said in statements to EFE that the case of traffic accidents in Panama should be called "acts of violence" and that the knowledge of Panamanian society on how traffic works is "null". "Most of the victims are young people under the age of 30 years and this is due to the poor training and preparation they receive in driving schools (driving schools)," said Diaz. The association seeks, among other things, that there is certainty of punishment and that penalties be stiffened from 8 to 15 years for those drivers who cause fatal accidents by driving under the influence of alcohol or speeding. "Wrongful death by aggravating circumstances have a ridiculous sentence of between 3 and 5 years. Our criminal code punishes more to a person who has stolen a cow (livestock theft has a penalty of between 8 and 10 years) than someone who kills another person for driving at 160 kilometers per hour", said the activist. Looking at road mortality data, the situation is particularly bloody conflict for pedestrians, as deaths from abuse represent almost half of the total victims. Of the 440 deaths that took place last year, 196 were abuses, compared to 177 in 2015. So far this year, at least 68 pedestrians have lost their lives, according to data of the ATTT. The director of Road Safety Education and defense of the user of the institution, David Ramirez, said in an interview with Acan-Efe that has succeeded in reducing the mortality rate among motorcyclists and cyclists, as these represent only 3 % of the total deaths, but admitted that the overwhelming number of pedestrians remains worrying. "With motor cyclists we got it thanks to many campaigns to raise awareness about the use of helmets. Our strategy with pedestrians is focused in the schools because children are all pedestrians," Ramirez said. The official explained that the ATTT has an agreement signed with the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) and since the start of the current Administration of Government, in July 2014, she teaches the basic concepts of road safety education in some schools of primary education. The goal, he added, is to turn children into the police of their own parents, so that they end up saying "Dad we will cross over the pedestrian crossing". For the association of victims, there are "too many" factors that explain the high numbers of abuses, among which are the little signals, the lack of sidewalks and traffic lights, and the limited public transport, which would help to all vehicle lights to decongest the streets. "Efforts are very isolated, but there is no legal mandate to promote road safety education in schools and public institutions. You need a real state policy that cannot be changed by the various governments," concluded the president of the victims. http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/educacion-vial-asignatura-pendiente-Panama_0_1034596883.html
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