Local November 30, 2019 | 9:37 am

Motorcyclists, involved in 63% of traffic accident deaths

Bikers Motorcyclists The National / Jorge Gonzalez

Motorcycle accidents, which are the leading cause of death in Latin America and the Caribbean in children between 5 and 14 years old (and the second among those aged 15 and 44), in the Dominican Republic between 2010 and 2016 62.9% of the deaths from accidents involved a motorcyclist, according to the National Strategic Road Safety Plan for Motorcycles 2019-2022, presented by the National Institute of Land Transportation and Transportation (INTRANT).

This study, prepared by the University Institute of Traffic and Road Safety of the University of Valencia (INTRAS), under the direction of Francisco Alonso and Cristina Esteban, indicates that motorcycle accidents in the country were responsible for the deaths of 13,374 people in those 6 years, and unfortunately the trend is on the increase, as the percentage for 2016 exceeded 70 percent.

Insufficient use of helmets

The analysis also shows a fundamental condition that, without a doubt, increases the number of deaths in the Dominican Republic, which is that motorists seldom wear protective helmets, which, as a nation, the DR has one of the lowest levels of helmet usage. “Only 1 of every 3 drivers wears a helmet, or is wearing it incorrectly,” warns the study on page 49, where it addresses the issue of accidents associated with motorcycle traffic.

The figures are dangerously increased in the case of the passengers since only 3% of them used a helmet and for greater concern, in the group of those who wore a helmet, only 7 out of 10 wore it properly fastened. The strange thing about this is, that according to current laws, the use of a helmet is mandatory. (Before the entry into force of the new Road Safety Law 63/17, the law only required a helmet for drivers).

Among the factors apart from not wearing a helmet that causes the consequences of an accident to be more serious are: use of inappropriate clothing, a high number of occupants, unauthorized position on the motorcycle and the placement of children where they aren’t able to reach the footrest, assures the study among its observations.

Few with license. 

The publication of the INTRANT also states that by 2016, there were only 8,349 motorcyclists who carried their license per day (0.66% of the total current driver’s licenses issued to date), according to data provided by the General Directorate of Land Transit .

The study ensures that motorcyclists in the Dominican Republic operate in conditions related to road insecurity, motorcycles in poor condition and drive recklessly, which is a constant problem.