Chile witnesses lowest number of traffic deaths during Fiestas Patrias since 2002

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

SANTIAGO – There were 21 road deaths reported during the long weekend (the period from Friday 15th September to Tuesday 19th September), according to Police Chief of Transit and Roads Jorge Garrido.

This is 43% fewer than in 2016, and the lowest number of deaths since 2002.

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In an interview with La Tecera, Garrido underlined that “it is a historic figure. Of course, there are still people suffering because they are not just numbers… But from the point of view of an analyst, 21 deaths… we checked and at least from 2002-2017 there hasn’t been figures so low. It is auspicious news, we have passed a turning point. With enough measures, Chile can think about improving these statistics.”

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However, despite the number of deaths decreasing dramatically, the number of total accidents stayed almost at parity with 2016, decreasing from 1037 to 1035. The figures of people injured in these accidents also increased, from 721 in 2016 to 791 in 2017. This suggests that although accidents were less likely to be fatal, they were also more likely to be severe enough to cause harm to the passengers.

The police said the principal cause of these accidents was drivers not being aware of the road conditions (211 accidents). The second cause was driving under the influence, which caused 102 accidents.

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These figures come after many municipalities created campaigns to underline the dangers of driving under the influence, suggesting that drivers either do not drink at all or that they leave the car at home and use public transport or taxis. These campaigns were also supported by some alcohol companies who partnered with taxi firms, such as Uber or Cabify, to promote sensible consumption around the Fiestas Patrias.