Speed Bumps with Proper Names

Speed Bumps with Proper Names by Rudy Girón

Exactly one week ago, a few meters from where this photo was taken, two young women were waiting for the bus when a speeding truck lost control and crashed into them, killing them instantly.

Their names were Aleyda (19) and Anita (20); both the most recent victims of negligence.

Friends who live in Santa Inés, the village just outside La Antigua Guatemala, on the road to Guatemala City, have been lobbying to get speed bumps on this stretch of road since there have been many accidents and over and over again they were told that it was not possible because COVIAL, the governmental agency in charge of the roads in Guatemala, would not allow it.

A week after the tragedy, the Municipalidad or COVIAL, who knows really, began installing a series of speed bumps to force drivers to slow down and prevent further accidents and deaths. Ironically, they first built two, not one or three, but two. That’s why I say these speed bumps have proper names: Aleyda and Anita. Another irony is that fact that in Guatemala we used the word túmulo for speed bump, which actually means tomb or burial mound.

Why is it human nature to wait for a tragedy before taking action to prevent accidents or catastrophes?

Guatemala in the news aside: Once again Guatemala became trending topic in the social media and news networks because of the killing of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral; one of Latin America’s most admired folk singers. You can read the rest of the story at The Washington Post for full details.

© 2011 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • They’re known as sleeping policemen in the UK. We were driving into Guate the night of the accident. It was a small blue van, like the ones Zeta gas use.

    The truck appeared to be heading in the same direction as us, so I’m not sure how it managed to cross 3-4 lanes to hit the girls.

    Perhaps there was alcohol involved too?

    • Actually Nic, it was a huge truck coming from Guatemala City, we know because we were coming back from Guatemala City and we were there within 5 minutes. The truck lost a tired and it was completely totaled. 🙁

  • It was a lot smaller when we passed! We were stuck at the fire station for 45 minutes or so. There was nothing blocking the route to Guate, so in between rubberneckers and trying to organise traffic into Antigua, I guess that was our delay.

    Tragic events, it must have been speeding to hit the girls and the finca with that amount of force. Now there are traffic education vans to show your speed coming into and out the city. 

    The one on the way out seems redundant as 50 metres more and you start the climb to the city and it’s not really a zona urbano. It would be better served in the middle of Santa Ines.

    However, unless there’s application of the law and multas are handed out, the chance for permanent change in driving habits is low.

  • Que pena todo esto.  Pues has contestado a tu propia pregunta:  Naturaleza Humana.  A eso hay que sumarle la respuesta de los encargados que tienen las posibilidades y la obligación de tomar acción.