Argentina is notorious for its lax driving regulations, which leads to the deaths of 7,000-8,000 people per year. It’s so bad that most Argentinians have grown indifferent to traffic accidents.
But this is no every day accident: A deadly bus and train collision that killed 11 people and injured more than 200 at a railroad crossing on Tuesday has certainly got the country’s attention. Blame for the accident has been lobbed back and forth between interested parties.
CBS News reports: “The recording shows a garbage truck breaking the end of the wooden, red-and-white painted barrier hours before Tuesday’s pre-dawn crash. It then shows a security guard waving drivers across despite warning signals. That guard was hired by a contractor whose overnight repair work on the nearby rails can falsely activate the signals, Trains of Buenos Aires spokesman Gustavo Gago explained Wednesday in an interview with the Todo Noticias channel.”
Basically, everything you could possibly do wrong at a train crossing occurred. Here’s raw footage:
And a Reuters news raw footage, shocking and crazy stuff:
Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri praised emergency responders for reacting quickly and preventing a greater loss of life. He then urged other politicians to make a priority of infrastructure projects — like the $1.2 billion project to put the rail line underground — that may decrease the dangers posed by street-level railroad crossings throughout Buenos Aires.
In 2010, 440 people and 165 vehicles were hit by trains in the city and province of Buenos Aires, and 269 people died, according to CBS News.
Maybe they should just figure out a way to make driving safer, actually put police to work enforcing red lights, train crossing barriers, things like that. If people just drive helter skelter, then yeah, it doesn’t really matter whether you put a few trains underground, the reckless drivers will just find another way to die.
Here’s perhaps the most tragic part of the entire story. The bus driver’s widow described him as a “prudent driver” that would always complain about this particular train crossing. According to the driver’s widow, the trains come by so frequently that if drivers didn’t bust through the crossing in a reckless manner they would be sitting there forever.
“He always talked to me about the barrier at Flores. He told me that he kept having to wait, that the train was far away and the barrier didn’t rise, that at times people had to get out of their cars and lift it,” she told Radio 10 before her husband’s funeral.
Sounds like Buenos Aires needs to seriously overhaul its entire way of traffic flow to make it safe.