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May 26, 2017

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Brazil sees approximately 50,000 deaths on roads every year: report

RIO DE JANEIRO--About 50,000 people died on Brazilian roads last year, down 10 percent from 2012, according to police estimates published Tuesday in local media.

A traffic police report obtained by the O Globo daily logged 8,375 deaths, or 23 per day, and 103,075 injuries in 185,877 accidents on federal motorways alone in the Latin American giant.

But the report estimated that the total for the country of 200 million as a whole was likely nearer 50,000 when taking all classes of roads into account.

That would give Brazil a ratio of some 25 road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to a European average of 10, according to a 2013 World Health Organization report.

"The annual number of traffic deaths in Brazil is equal to the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War," University of Brasilia civil engineering professor Paulo Cesar Marques told O Globo.

Marques credited advertising campaigns and tougher punishments for road safety violations as measures helping traffic fatalities fall 10.1 percent compared to 2012, but added Brazil still had much progress to make.

Brazil has adopted U.N. targets stipulating it should aim to halve traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.

The road deaths are similar to the number of homicides — 47,100 in 2012 — in one of the world's most violent countries.

Police blame excess speed, reckless overtaking, drunken-driving and the poor state of repair of many highways for the vast majority of traffic accidents.

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