LA PAZ – Three people were killed and 30 others injured in a head-on collision involving two buses on a highway some 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the central city of Cochabamba, Bolivian media reported.
The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. Monday on the highway to Oruro, where the Naser and Estrella de los Andes company buses collided.
Nearly 50 people have died in the Andean nation in bus accidents in less than a week, Erbol radio said.
Twenty-eight people were killed and 44 others injured when a bus traveling from the central city of Cochabamba to the southwestern city of Potosi plunged into a ravine early Sunday.
The TransUncia company bus, which was carrying 70 passengers, went off the road near the Pongo K’asa area around 1:30 a.m. due to brake failure, Cochabamba police commander Col. Hernan Trujillo said.
One child was killed and 16 others were injured in the accident, Trujillo said.
The bus driver, identified as Roberto Gandarillas, tried to run away after the accident but was arrested and tested to determine whether he had been drinking, the official Patria Nueva radio reported.
Twelve people were killed and at least 30 others injured when an El Dorado company bus plying the same route crashed last week.
The El Dorado bus, which was carrying more than 50 people, was speeding at the time of the accident last Thursday, media reports said, citing police.
The bus went into a ravine near Bombeo, a town in Cochabamba, police said.
Bus driver Raul Calle has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and faces three to six years in prison if convicted, the Los Tiempos newspaper reported Sunday.
The June 24 accident sparked debate about the safety of roads and transportation companies in Bolivia.
Monday’s accident occurred as several officials, including Deputy Public Safety Minister Gen. Miguel Vazquez, were inspecting the highway between La Paz and Oruro, the scene of frequent accidents.
Police must do a better job of enforcing traffic laws, Vazquez told Erbol.
The deputy minister, however, acknowledged that lack of training and poor skills were to blame for most traffic accidents.
President Evo Morales’s administration enacted a law in January that cracked down on bus drivers caught working drunk, inexperienced drivers and drivers who work excessive hours.
The measure’s goal is to reduce accidents, which kill an average of 1,000 people annually in the Andean nation. EFE