Looking for ideas to fight traffic accidents “epidemic”

June 18, 2012

World Bank (Gonzalo Martínez)

  • Uruguay has the worst rate in the region: 23 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Traffic accidents are the first cause of death among young people.
  • Uruguay seeks to put into practice lessons learned in Argentina.

Gerardo Barrios, Director of UNASEV (National Road Safety Security Unit) says "traffic accidents are the worst epidemic in Uruguay”.

Numbers seem to prove it: with 23 deaths per 100,000 people, Uruguay has the worst rate in the region, four times higher than in European countries. Traffic accidents have increased rapidly and are the first cause of death among young people.

In order to fight this problem, a working lunch took place in Montevideo on May 7, to exchange South-South ideas about road safety.

Felipe Rodríguez Laguens, Director of the National Road Safety of Argentina, and Corina Puppo, Director of the National Road Safety Observatory of Argentina, shared the lessons learned and successful measures that achieved significant results in Argentina. Veronica Raffo, Program Coordinator for the World Bank in Argentina, promoted this exchange.

" Traffic accidents are the worst epidemic in Uruguay "

Gerardo Barrios

Director of National Road Safety Security Unit

More than 50 people, including representatives of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, the National Road Safety Unit, the Highway Patrol and transit directors of several provinces, attended the meeting. NGOs like Alejandra Forlán Foundation, the Road Safety National Institute (ISEV), Gonchi Rodriguez Foundation and the private sector, including the Automobile Club of Uruguay, also assisted

The most interesting exchange was Argentina´s experience, which was supported by the World Bank. Although Uruguay has designed similar policies, it had some difficulties putting them into practice.

Participants were able to enrich from the experience of its Argentinean neighbors, such as overcoming the difficulties of multiple jurisdictions or the financing of the Road Safety Unit, and were deeply interested in the presentations.

All the experts agreed it was a great opportunity to approach other key actors, whose cooperation is essential to combat this epidemic.