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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 09:39 AM EDT

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Truck Drivers Strike At Panama/Costa Rica Border

Cars & TransportationInside Costa Rica.com - The first major disruption of the nine-month-old Costa Rican-Panamanian free trade agreement came on July 6, when approximately 200 truck drivers from Panama, Costa Rica, and other Central American countries paralyzed cargo crossing from Paso Canoas, Panama to Cerro Punta, Costa Rica. The protest, sparked by exorbitant Costa Rican tariffs and taxes, draws attention to the inconsistencies within the current import/export fee system. Costa Rica previously was charging vehicle operators for driving through the country, even though the fees violated a law passed in 2001. Manuel Mora, president of the National Association of Truck Drivers of Panamá (Canatraca) told Inside Costa Rica that the country "wants U.S. $70 for hauling a load between Paso Canoas and San José and U.S. $140 for travel between Paso Canoas and Peñas Blancas" on the Nicaraguan border. (more)
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"The Transmóvil Project Will Not Be Suspended" - Torrijos

Cars & TransportationLa Critica - Panama's President Martin Torrijos said the Transmóvil project will not be suspended because it is a high priority subject for users. "Our sympathies and worry must be with the users, because the transportation system is exhausted and we have promised to renovate it," said Torrijos. A bus with license plate 8B-2531 of the Don Bosco route caught fire during a confusing incident, when the bus was being moved by the police and the bus owner, Alfredo Perea, entered the bus through the emergency door. Perea was burned in the face and was taken first to the Policlínica JJ Vallarino and then later was transferred to the Santo Tomás hospital. The National Police say that assured that when an officer took control of the bus to move it out of the road, Perea entered through the emergency door and sprinkled a flammable liquid in order to light the bus on fire. Nevertheless, the other version indicates that the fire took place due to a short circuit caused when the police tried to start the bus with a direct connection. The leader of the transportation union blamed a second lieutenant with the last name of Polo as responsible for the fire.
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Interview: Pilots' overwork chief culprit for air accidents, says expert of association

Cars & TransportationBy Juan Limachi - PANAMA CITY, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Overwork by pilots causes some 70 percent of world's total air accidents, regional Vice Presidentof the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) Maurico Leyva said on Sunday. "The capacity of the human beings has a limit, and in this sense it is not possible to adjust the industrial norms beyond the human capacity," Leyva in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. Scientific researches have concluded that pilots should not work over 10 hours a day, but in some countries this rule is not respected as pilots there are obliged to work 12, 14 or even 16 hours a day, said Leyva. His remarks came after Panama experienced three aerial accidents from May 29 to June 6, during which two helicopters and a light plane crashed at landing. (more)
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Four Dead in Four Days on the Road to the Centennial Bridge

Cars & Transportation By Milerick Alvendas for El Siglo - The road leading to the Centennial Bridge, where death watches, claimed its fourth victim in four days. Yesterday, a woman died when the driver of a light truck lost control and the vehicle fell into the gap between the two bridges that cross the railroad tracks, in an accident that also left three others injured. The woman was traveling without documents, the children called her Carmen, and they were traveling in a Nissan Xtrail SUV with license plate 423642, driven by Boris Omar Salvatierra, who was returning from the area of Arraiján after having picked up their maid in the company of his two children, Boris and Jorge Luis Salvatierra, 12 and 3 years old, respectively. (more)
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Amazing - Three Accidents in the Same Place

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Amazing. This afternoon a woman driving a van apparently fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the road to the Centenario Bridge. She struck the side of the bridge that crosses over the railroad tracks, the van flew through the air and landed on the track, and the driver was killed. While police were at the scene of that accident and recovering the body of the driver, a guy driving a dump truck slammed into a Tropigas truck full of LPG gas tanks, pinning the gas truck against a fire truck. Then, another guy driving a different dump truck, who was driving drunk, slammed his truck into the crowd, sending two cops and a civilian flying off of the bridge and flipping his truck on its side. All of this from "Codigo 4" on channel 13 this stuff. Amazing. I've said it often - the most dangerous thing you'll do in Panama is drive.

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"...and they drive them until the wheels fall off..."

Cars & Transportation La Critica - A "Diablo Rojo" bus with license plate number 3B - 621 that covers the Puerto Escondido - Colón route, lost the back axle, scarring passengers who ran from the bus when the incident occurred. Driver Daniel Betancourt was not speeding (driving at a normal speed) when the incident occurred in Calle 16. The tires on the bus were bald. (Editor's Comment: I've said in the past that here in Panama they take those retired school buses and "drive them until the wheels fall off." This is what I was talking about. I see these kinds of articles about three or four times a year.)
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Motorcycle vs. Racoon Accident - Raccoon Wins

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The other day I had to make a run out to the Amador Causeway. On the way out I encountered the scene of a motorcycle accident. Actually, the ambulance had already arrived and the paramedics were in process of loading the victim on the gurney for transport. Apparently the driver was heading out towards the end of the causeway and a raccoon ran out in front on him. Not wanting to strike the raccoon, the driver swerved violently, lost control of his bike, and crashed. The good news - the raccoon was fine. (more)

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Helicopter Crash in Calidonia

Cars & TransportationLocal media has been busy lately reporting about a helicopter crash that ocurred in Calidonia. The presumed faulty chopper crashed onto the Banana Price, across the street fom El Machetazo department store during business hours. I've been following the news since the first phoned-in report; so far media has reported four dead. Apparently the chopper belonged to the Servicio Aereo Nacional, codename SAN-100. Parts of the helicopter landed on the street, and fire has erupted.
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Bus Owners Concerned Over "Transmóvil" Plan

Cars & Transportation By Meredith Serracin for the Panama America - Members of the "Unión de Bases Transportistas y Usuarios" (Union of Transportation Unions and Users) who oppose the "Transmóvil" public transportation project which has been announced by the government, that they will meet today at 5:00 pm to analyze the possibility of paralyzing transportation services. Sergio Molina, a leader of the bus owners union, said that with this plan the government wants to squeeze them out of this business which they have maintained all this time without any support from anyone. Molina said the majority of bus owners do not want to sell their vehicles because they are afraid they will become unemployed and end up without a way to feed their families.
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Saved By A Miracle

Cars & Transportation La Prensa - A 76 year old woman and her grandson were almost squashed by a articulated truck loaded of enormous metal cylinders that fell on her residence in Gatún, in the area of Limón, province of Colón. The woman said she was in the kitchen when she heard a loud noise and the house shook. The wheels of the truck ended up just centimeters from her back. (Photo Credit: Amada Racero - Special for La Prensa)
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