32 percent of 2012 traffic fatalities were on motorcycles

Some 32 percent of persons killed in traffic mishaps in 2012 were on motorcycles, said the Policía de Tránsito Monday.

The final death toll for 2012 was 330, said the agency, part of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. Some 105 motorcyclists died, 33 more than in 2011, said police.

Germán Marín Sandí, director of the traffic police, said that officials hope that the new traffic law will reduce the toll this year. The law went into effect in October and requires motorcycle riders to wear reflective clothing. The law also prohibits more than two persons on a motorcycle. However, most motorcyclists were following those rules long before the revised law won approval.

Marín said the fact was obvious that motorcyclists died because they and their vehicles are hard to see.

Total traffic deaths in the year were 41 greater than in 2011, despite crackdowns on alcohol and efforts to control speed.

Marín blamed legal decisions that voided a number of traffic fines as disproportionate for the increase in highway deaths. The revised traffic law was the product of the 2006 to 2010 Asamblea Legislativa. But as soon as the measure went into effect, lawmakers had second thoughts and tried to make revisions. But time ran out on that legislature, so shortly after May 1, 2010, the current legislature began from scratch.

Of those who died, 53 were pedestrians, a reflection on the condition of the nation’s roadways where persons are forced to walk in a traffic lane. Police also blamed pedestrians for not using bridges over major highways and other routes designed for them.

Just 27 of the deaths were in December, where there were 5,117 accidents with 697 injured, officials said.

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