After too many tragic road accidents, Public Works takes action and announces repairs of Duarte highway

Dolores

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The Ministry of Public Works announced the start of repairs and expansion works of the Duarte Highway, the main south-north connection. Public Works Minister Deligne Ascención said repairs will start at Km 9 in the National District and will go all the way to Santiago. The decision says the repairs are to reduce traffic accidents on the road. The Ministry of Public Works has named a high-level commission that needs to present proposals for road improvements, signage and lighting to reduce accidents. Engineers Onéximo González, Nelson Colón and Rafael Medos.



Ascención said that President Abinader is concerned about the high incidence of traffic accidents on the road.



The roadworks contemplate the elimination of illegal crossings, the widening of the lanes where required, lighting, construction of return lanes and new crosswalks.



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drstock

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"The Ministry of Public Works has named a high-level commission that needs to present proposals for road improvements, signage and lighting to reduce accidents."

Yea right. A commission is just what is needed.
Ha ha - yes, I agree but the overall object of "The roadworks contemplate the elimination of illegal crossings, the widening of the lanes where required, lighting, construction of return lanes and new crosswalks" is welcome.
 

arturo

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Mar 14, 2002
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Ha ha - yes, I agree but the overall object of "The roadworks contemplate the elimination of illegal crossings, the widening of the lanes where required, lighting, construction of return lanes and new crosswalks" is welcome.

There is no denying that conditions along some stretches are very bad. Overall I firmly believe the accident rate has more to do with the driving practices than with anything else. What would be safety improvements under basic traffic law enforcement has led to even more horrendous accidents because the improvements facilitate travel at higher speeds. It would be naive to expect international standards any time soon but it's easy enough to crack down on the most egregious practices. Think about how many times we see people stopped on the side of the autopista wherever they please having a leisurely picnic with plastic chairs, sometimes encroaching on the roadway and sometimes behind a blind curve, as if it's OK to convert any spot into a roadside rest stop or a mechanic's workshop.
 

SKY

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Driving from the toll booth to Santiago at night is really perilous. There are stretches with no lines in the road and no light to see anything coming up. Curves where you can go off the road exist. If you must drive at night the best idea is to follow a small truck in the left lane. They know the road.
 

arturo

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Driving from the toll booth to Santiago at night is really perilous. There are stretches with no lines in the road and no light to see anything coming up. Curves where you can go off the road exist. If you must drive at night the best idea is to follow a small truck in the left lane. They know the road.

That is really good advice. There is another sure fire way to manage nighttime visibility problems and most other road hazards. Warning: what I am about to write is going to be controversial to some. The sure fire method is...SLOW DOWN. It is not the Latin America way but it works. Think about it, poor illumination, blind curves, ruts and large potholes, large animals or stalled vehicles in the middle of the roadway, they are all dangerous in direct proportion to how fast you are moving when you encounter them. The toll both to Santiago stretch is not really that bad at night - unless you try to negotiate it at 150 km/hour, as so many do.
 

XTraveller

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No investment need just apply the rules..........SLOW DOWN AND NO DRINKING, CELL DRIVING.

Ths autoroute can be a real cash cow if wanted. Dominicans in general need to learn to drive safely.... I am surprised that this new government has not recognizes this or at least proceed with this in mind. New construction will not change bad driving habits....
 

JDJones

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That is really good advice. There is another sure fire way to manage nighttime visibility problems and most other road hazards. Warning: what I am about to write is going to be controversial to some. The sure fire method is...SLOW DOWN. It is not the Latin America way but it works. Think about it, poor illumination, blind curves, ruts and large potholes, large animals or stalled vehicles in the middle of the roadway, they are all dangerous in direct proportion to how fast you are moving when you encounter them. The toll both to Santiago stretch is not really that bad at night - unless you try to negotiate it at 150 km/hour, as so many do.

This has been my mantra for decades. Not just on the autopista.. everywhere. Driving at 45-50 in most cases gives you added time to avert an accident.
And just as important, always watch where you're going and mentally calculate what's happening in front of you.
Also worth a mention: Just because you have the right of way doesn't mean you're going to get it. In fact, most of the time you won't.
 
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You guys are wrong. Improvements make all the difference. In the past (before curfews) I could regularly travel East Highway (SD to PUJ) even at middle of the night at comfortable 65 mph.

I travelled two times from Santiago to SD after dark and it was mentally challenging, a lot of mental effort to scan the environment, road etc. And to watch for potholes. It was really not an easy ride (day and night difference compared to East Highway) and I was quite tired. Night driving to Santiago and night driving to PUJ are two very different things.
 
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JDJones

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You guys are wrong. Improvements make all the difference. In the past (before curfews) I could regularly travel East Highway (SD to PUJ) even at middle of the night at comfortable 65 mph.

I travelled two times from Santiago to SD after dark and it was mentally challenging, a lot of mental effort to scan the environment, road etc. And to watch for potholes. It was really not an easy ride (day and night difference compared to East Highway) and I was quite tired. Night driving to Santiago and night driving to PUJ are two very different things.

I'm not sure I agree 100%.

Roads with the proper markings make a big difference, but all it does is encourage folks to drive faster. And in this country where folks have no concept of giving right-a-way to others speed is a major cause of accidents.

Go by any of the small police stations where they store wrecked vehicles and see what's there. It's easy to see which ones were in
 

CDNBear

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Most accidents in DR are due to driver errors. I am very certain about that.
Albeit some roads are horrible, but that can somewhat be mitigated by driving slower

Motorcyclists contribute 67 percent of traffic accident mortality.
Only 21.8% of motorcyclists were recorded wearing a helmet, according to a study.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crucial risk factor for 27 % of all road injuries.

Yesterday I returned from Santiago, driving there for two days in the center. Incredible dangerous situations, wrong way on the autopista during night, without lights etc.
Saw all of the below, and frankly happy when I was safe in Cabarete again

How many drivers actually have a valid license. I believe I saw an old statistics that almost 50% did not?

It's not unusual in the Dominican Republic to see up to five people, including babies, scrunched atop a motorcycle, or for drivers to carry all types of cargo, including heavy gasoline tanks, atop their bikes. Motorists also dodge hundreds of dilapidated cars and trucks as they zoom across lanes without warning, fail to stop at red lights and go against traffic, often at high speed and sometimes even taking over sidewalks.[…]
Dominican officials believe a lethal mix of alcohol, speed and blatant disregard for traffic laws is to blame. On a recent weekend, police stopped more than 460 motorcycles and 170 cars in the capital of Santo Domingo, issuing tickets mostly for driving the wrong way or running red lights.
 

NanSanPedro

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Most accidents in DR are due to driver errors. I am very certain about that.
Albeit some roads are horrible, but that can somewhat be mitigated by driving slower

Motorcyclists contribute 67 percent of traffic accident mortality.
Only 21.8% of motorcyclists were recorded wearing a helmet, according to a study.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crucial risk factor for 27 % of all road injuries.

Yesterday I returned from Santiago, driving there for two days in the center. Incredible dangerous situations, wrong way on the autopista during night, without lights etc.
Saw all of the below, and frankly happy when I was safe in Cabarete again

How many drivers actually have a valid license. I believe I saw an old statistics that almost 50% did not?

It's not unusual in the Dominican Republic to see up to five people, including babies, scrunched atop a motorcycle, or for drivers to carry all types of cargo, including heavy gasoline tanks, atop their bikes. Motorists also dodge hundreds of dilapidated cars and trucks as they zoom across lanes without warning, fail to stop at red lights and go against traffic, often at high speed and sometimes even taking over sidewalks.[…]
Dominican officials believe a lethal mix of alcohol, speed and blatant disregard for traffic laws is to blame. On a recent weekend, police stopped more than 460 motorcycles and 170 cars in the capital of Santo Domingo, issuing tickets mostly for driving the wrong way or running red lights.

The babies and kids on motos without helmets still gets me after over 2 years here.
 

arturo

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Mar 14, 2002
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You guys are wrong. Improvements make all the difference. In the past (before curfews) I could regularly travel East Highway (SD to PUJ) even at middle of the night at comfortable 65 mph.

I travelled two times from Santiago to SD after dark and it was mentally challenging, a lot of mental effort to scan the environment, road etc. And to watch for potholes. It was really not an easy ride (day and night difference compared to East Highway) and I was quite tired. Night driving to Santiago and night driving to PUJ are two very different things.

I think you missed my point. I think I got your point when you mentioned 65 MPH in the middle of the night on a Dominican highway is comfortable for you. We may have to agree to disagree about this. The statistics clearly confirm this is a matter of life and death. For me, comfort and convenience take a back seat when safety is at issue. But again, I get your point. Personal convenience is the guiding principle. It is the answer to the rhetorical question I often ask myself while driving..."why on earth would someone do that"?
 
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arturo

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The babies and kids on motos without helmets still gets me after over 2 years here.

If you are like me, 20 years from now you won't even notice people playing motorcycle Russian roulette with their kids but when they do it carrying a tank of propane or a large pane of glass that still makes me raise an eyebrow.
 

arturo

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I'm not sure I agree 100%.

Roads with the proper markings make a big difference, but all it does is encourage folks to drive faster. And in this country where folks have no concept of giving right-a-way to others speed is a major cause of accidents.

Go by any of the small police stations where they store wrecked vehicles and see what's there. It's easy to see which ones were in

Until the practices of passing through uncontrolled intersections at full speed (honking the horn optional unless it's 4AM in a residential zone, when it seems to be more customary) and moving across or simultaneously traveling in multiple autopista lanes (again, at unreasonably high rates of speed) are curtailed, I agree that road improvements will only encourage more dangerous driving at higher speeds.
 

arturo

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Mar 14, 2002
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No investment need just apply the rules..........SLOW DOWN AND NO DRINKING, CELL DRIVING.

Ths autoroute can be a real cash cow if wanted. Dominicans in general need to learn to drive safely.... I am surprised that this new government has not recognizes this or at least proceed with this in mind. New construction will not change bad driving habits....

I believe the new government recognizes it as well as any of the prior governments. For an explanation of its inaction, see my previous posts about the concho driver unions, for which traffic enforcement is an existential threat.
 

CDNBear

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"The Ministry of Public Works has named a high-level commission that needs to present proposals for road improvements, signage and lighting to reduce accidents."

Yea right. A commission is just what is needed.


I am taking the time to read through one of the many (I am sure) reports from previous Presidential Commissions on Road Safety :cool:

Here is one fact from a UN report named «Road Safety Performance Review», Dominican Republic

that the female traffic fatality rate per 1,000,000 women has been relatively stable. In 2003, the rate was 6.32 and, in 2015, the rate was almost identical (6.33). The highest rate –7.52— was recorded in 2010. For men, on the other hand, the situation is more problematic. In 2003, the rate was 40.88 and, in 2015, it was 44.35, for an increase of 10%.

Yeah, another commission and report is what we need, NOT
What about all the previous reports and analysis done.

The reasons for the high mortality rate and traffic incidents should be pretty clear.

The Presidential Commission on Road Safety is done, now it is time to act.

In 2016, road safety was designated as a national priority, and the Presidential Commission on Road Safety was founded. The persons named to sit on the Commission are high-level representatives of the government agencies and departments that have core responsibilities for the promotion of road safety. The Commission has been mandated to design, implement and monitor the fulfilment of the National Road Safety Action Plan for 2017-2020. Representatives of other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and the private sector can be invited to the meetings of the Commission or its working group. The 2017-2020 Action Plan is an exemplary policy development initiative; it includes activities in areas such as roads, vehicles, enforcement, education and first aid and represents the country’s first attempt to address road safety in a more comprehensive manner.
 

CDNBear

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I find this entertaining, sorry for my cynical sense of humour. Actually I drive my scooter without helmet, because I like the fresh air blowing. Was not grown up using helmets when bicycling. But I do not blame anybody if it bites me in the rear.
For more dangerous rides in higher speeds I do use seatbelts and a pretty decent secure car. That helps a lot, only 13 percent of grave accidents in those vehicles.

Information provided by DGTT indicates that there are 12,141 motorcycle operators who hold driving licences, but, according to the National Statistical Office, as noted above, there are more than 1.5 million registered motorcycles. In other words, no more than 5% of potential motorcycle operators are registered in the system. This is clearly a problem for any enforcement and educational programme that could be introduced in an effort to improve drivers’ behaviour as a means of enhancing road safety.
A policy introduced by DGTT to encourage people who are driving motorcycles to obtain a permit consisted of easing the requirements for such permits. For instance, instead of taking a written examination, applicants could simply attend a course on driving rules and laws.
A common challenge in this regard is that when police officers try to enforce traffic laws they are often unable to issue tickets because drivers have no licence and there is thus no way to follow up on them. This also provides negative reinforcement for a road safety learning curve because motorcyclists are not exposed to measures for correcting poor road safety practices over time. In other words, since motorcyclists are not subject to a formal system under which they can learn to drive more safely and have that learning certified, once they start driving, they do so without the requisite knowledge. Their behaviour could be corrected by police enforcement, but, since this is impractical, motorcyclists are likely to continue with their initial high- risk driving behaviour.
 

CDNBear

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Executive summary

Disorganized traffic patterns and poor driving habits are very common in the Dominican Republic. The police enforcement of traffic laws is inconsistent, and roadways themselves are often treacherous. This is combined with liberal attitudes toward the consumption of alcohol. Parents introduce their early teenaged children to alcohol, and drinking by minors is a significant issue, especially in less urban areas.
Consuming alcohol while driving is a common problem, and there are few serious legal consequences. The Dominican public is largely unaware of the dangers and effects of drink driving, and do not consider it a form of wrongdoing. Individuals of all ages regularly drink and drive, and most are unaware of the legal levels allowed to drive.
Despite cavalier local attitudes, the outcomes are serious. Although reliable road-safety statistics are difficult to find, World Health Organization figures rank the Dominican Republic in the top 15 countries globally for rates of fatalities in car crashes.
It is only recently that the national government has taken steps to address drink driving. In early 2017, a new law with a clear maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and more specific sections on traffic patterns and drink driving was approved and put into effect. This law is in response to clear instructions and specific guidelines directly from the country’s President, who described the law as one of the government’s most important legacies. National leaders also noted a desire to achieve the United Nations goal of halving the numbers of deaths and disabilities due to road crashes by 2020. In addition, new national agencies have been created to address road safety, and beverage industry initiatives have been ongoing at both national and grassroots levels.
Selected Recommendations (see the text for the full list)

• To fully benefit from the new transit law, the implementation of random, high visibility, sobriety checkpoints should begin in a systematic and structured manner.
• Special training should be provided to all those involved in conducting sobriety checkpoints.
• Relevant authorities should be educated about the steps and experiences taken by other countries in programs to change negative driving habits.
• Provide the public with accessible information about driving laws, as well as the consequences of breaking the law.
• Provide the public with information on the new transit law passed in early 2017. At the same time, update driver education curricula to reflect the new law.
• A detailed public education and awareness campaign is needed to increase awareness of the magnitude of the problem and the strategy to address it. This campaign should include information on the fines, penalties, and consequences of drink driving.
• Educational materials provided to first-time drivers should be improved, and should contain all the current, relevant information, rules, and regulations related to driving motor vehicles.
• It is important to reach the younger generation and first-time drivers in a long-term manner to develop positive driving behaviors as early as possible.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
 

Cdn_Gringo

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Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement is the cure for the high number of traffic accidents. Drivers need to be chased down, stopped and ticketed within in an inch of bankruptcy to drive home the message that speed and poor driving habits kill. That and getting the unsafe vehicles off the nation's roadways for good.
 
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