Danger on the bus

A news article in the Latin American Herald Tribune this week caught my attention. It described a bus accident in El Salvador caused by a bus driver on his cell phone:
At least 18 people were injured when an inter-city bus flipped over on a highway in El Salvador when the driver became distracted, the highway patrol said.

The accident occurred Saturday on the highway that links San Salvador and the eastern city of Usulutan.

Passengers said in statements to investigators that the driver lost control of the bus while talking on his cell phone, a highway patrol spokesman said.
Tragically, this accident was far from an isolated incident. El Salvador's roads and highways can be deadly:
SAN SALVADOR – A total of 1,107 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in El Salvador during 2010, according to figures compiled by the police, who reported 19,000 road accidents in total, an 11 percent increase compared with 2009, the Diario de Hoy newspaper reported Sunday.

Buses were involved in 11 percent of the accidents in which about 900 people were injured, the deputy director of traffic for the National Civilian Police, or PNC, Cesar Flores Murillo, told the newspaper.

In 2010, police imposed more than 2,000 fines on public transport drivers for, among other things, driving with very loud music blaring, driving without the proper license and ignoring warning signs, Flores said.
Riding the bus in El Salvador is cheap, but too often it's not safe.