Traffic officials are hoping that the year closes with a reduction in traffic deaths.
Figures through November show they are on track. The Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes said that as of Nov. 30 just 257 persons died in traffic accidents. That is the fewest since 2005 when there were 251 reported deaths by that date.
Of course the Christmas holidays are still ahead, and at least four more persons have died in December. Yet officials hope that the death toll will stay well under 300.
They are attributing some of the reduction to the new traffic code that contains serious consequences for speeders and drunk drivers. There also is the rigorous vehicle inspection program.
The average death toll for December is about 23, so officials hope to finish the year with about 280 deaths.
The year 2009 saw 315 deaths, and there were 283 by Nov. 30, according to ministry statistics.
The Instituto Nacional de Seguros reports that there are 973,000 vehicles on the road now compared to about half that in 1996. So the death toll per mile traveled should show a reduction by the end of the year.