Not worth the rush they cause

In a city stunned by the rush and yearning for the end of the year, moving between health fears and lights yearned for joy, between euphoric discount promotions and idyllic Christmas carols that sound insistently, a mother was run over when crossing El Pedregal boulevard, with your baby in your arms. She died. His body was left on the asphalt. As of press time, she had not yet been identified. His son under 1 year old survived; had a slight bump. A miracle, it would be said. A feat of maternal heroism in the decisive moment of giving his life for the one he loves.

Beyond the circumstances of this case, whose perpetrator fled in a white vehicle, according to witnesses, there is a fateful statistic of pedestrians and cyclists being run over by motor vehicles. The cities and highways of the country have been the scene of multiple tragedies that mourn families and engender orphans. Even so, a permanent correction of driving behaviors is not achieved.

Sometimes the same motorists who are frequently affected by ramming and collisions, who know the misadventures of road vulnerability, also act aggressively against pedestrians, using sidewalks as streets and indolently blocking zebra crossings at intersections.

The defenselessness of Guatemalan walkers constitutes one of the most serious consequences of the excessive eagerness of the municipalities to erect and publicize road works as a relevant achievement. Such works come to eat up sidewalks, relegate the pace on foot and stimulate the abuse of vehicular speed. The underlying message of this emphasis is that pedestrians see how they manage, because they move at their own risk. The best you can hope for is for an abusive driver to honk at you to rush you past or insult you if you dare to protest the invasion of the marked crosswalk.

Any foreign visitor is scared to see how helpless pedestrians are in Guatemala. Paradoxically, many Guatemalans in the United States run across the streets despite the green light, to the surprise of the local residents and the motorists themselves.

In other latitudes, vehicles are required by law to give way to those who move on foot under all circumstances. If there is a run over, its factors and consequences must be legally elucidated. In those contexts, the penalty for fleeing the area of ​​an incident is very severe. This is not the case in Guatemala, perhaps due to distrust in the police, the dangers of preventive detention, the evasion of civil responsibilities and the expectation of impunity. Despite such situations, there is no excuse or legal justification for dumping a run-over victim.

For their part, the municipal and national traffic authorities could well undertake an intense multimedia awareness, prevention and warning campaign on the implications and responsibilities of driving motorized vehicles, from motorcycles to trailers. No one can be indifferent to the cry of the baby who survived. He will spend his life without his mother. The person responsible for the wrongful death is probably in his house, perhaps decorated with a tree, and will spend Christmas in the company of his family. He left a lodera lying at the scene of the tragedy. His haste was literally a devastating shame.

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