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Ecuador News

Tram training begins, Cell phone use causes 23% of auto accidents, IMF review’s country’s finances

Tram training underway for 300 transit workers

Safety training sessions for 300 employees of Cuenca’s new tram system began June 26, according to the city’s transportation office. The training addresses the main causes of traffic accidents involving public transportation rail systems and vehicular traffic as well as the methods for avoiding them. It also provides a review of the technical specifications of the tram system for preventing accidents. Cuenca’s tram system is scheduled to begin operation in March.

Cell phone use responsible for 23% of car accidents
Cell phone use killed 206 Ecuadorian motorists in first quarter of 2018.

Ecuador’s national transit authority reports that cell phone use while driving caused 23 percent of traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2018.  The authority says that 1,462 accidents out of 6,164 traffic accidents were the direct result of phone use. It says that 206 people died as a result of the accidents. Cell phone use while driving is illegal in Ecuador, punishable by up to 30 days in jail. According to data from the World Health Organization, one and a half million people lost their lives in 2017 worldwide as a result of traffic accidents, with about 15 percent of those involving cell phones.

IMF team reviewing Ecuador’s finances

A technical team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) met Monday to discuss data it has collected during a two-week visit to Ecuador. The team, led by IMF Latin American director Anna Ivanova, has held meetings with the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Superintendence of Popular and Solidarity Economy, private analysts, business associations and other sectors of the country’s economy. Walter Spurrier, editor of the Ecuador Weekly Analysis, says government officials have been honest and forthcoming with the IMF about economic problems in the country. The government hopes to secure an IMF loan to fill a budget shortfall.

Studies begin for new southern access road

Consultants from the University of Cuenca have been chosen by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works (MTOP) to conduct studies for the construction of a new southern access highway into Cuenca. MTOP says that projections indicate that the amount of traffic from Loja and Machala entering Cuenca will overwhelm the current highways within 15 years. It says that a four- or six-lane highway will be needed to meet future demands.