At least 15 people lost their lives and several dozen more were injured in a bus accident south of Rio de Janeiro and north of Sao Paolo, near the Brazilian town of Paraty on the afternoon of Sunday, September 6, 2015. The bus was carrying passengers to Trinade, a popular beach destination not far from where the crash took place. The road upon which the accident occurred is notoriously accident prone, colloquially termed “God Help Me Hill” by area locals.
The roadways across the nation have been clogged with traffic, as the weekend marks the Brazilian Independence Day holiday. Many travelers head to the coastal areas to celebrate their country’s freedom with family and friends. Difficult-to-navigate mountain passes surround the area where this accident took place, and when they become congested with drivers, disaster can strike without warning.
The bus overturned on a shoulder of the treacherous roadway, but the exact cause of the accident has not yet been reported. There have been no statements made regarding weather conditions, nor whether the driver of the bus was potentially fatigued or intoxicated. Many of the wounded passengers were taken to area medical centers via helicopter transport, with others being hauled away in ambulances. It is not known how many passengers in total were on board at the time of the crash.
According to data released by the World Health Organization, only 1 percent of road accidents involve buses. However, Brazil’s roadways were the setting of more than 37,000 traffic accidents in the year 2009 and averages more than 40,000 accident-related deaths per year, making them particularly treacherous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. A road safety project has been implemented in recent years to study ways in which Brazil can improve its roadways and traffic laws for the betterment of public safety overall.