Saturday, March 22, 2014

México: Mid-60s US Couple Find Each Other Online, Killed in Collision in Cancún, Lessons-Learned

According to  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David Werner and Denise Doyle, both in their mid-60s, met online two years ago and were enjoying a whirlwind romance.

David lost his wife to cancer, while Denise's marriage had ended. In short, they were having the time of their life.

COMMENT: The devoted couple, both of whom who had a second chance at romance after meeting on a dating site in 2012, were madly in love with each other and had so much to live for.

The happy couple had raised productive families, made good salaries and looked forward to a rewarding life together.

Tragically, though, while on vacation in Cancún on March 4, 2014, David, 65, and Dense, 63, were broadsided, resulting in David being killed and leaving Denise in a coma; she died on March 12 at a hospital in Houston.

The driver of the car that hit David and Dense, French tourist Lea Tambom, 20, was badly injured. 

When I first joined the US Department of State in the early 70s as a personal security briefer, I became intimately aware that roughly 6,000 Americans die on foreign roadways ANNUALLY.

Sadly, 6,000, multiplied by 30 years, translates into 180,000 fatalities. Massive, huh?

As my years in the Department increased and as I began to go from one US Regional Security Officer (RSO) assignment to another, I saw first-hand the human carnage produced by roadway accidents abroad.

At last count, roughly 20 colleagues that I have personally known have died abroad,  largely because of :

1. Delays in first responders getting to an accident scene;

2. In the majority of developing nations those on ambulances are nothing more than "body-carters"; they are untrained;

3. Congested traffic that led accident victims to die before EMTs arrive;

4. Poorly trained diagnosis, laboratory management; nursing care and too few physicians;

5.  Non-existent triage prioritization; and

6. Little specialty training in emergency medicine.

One organization I strongly urge that you become familiar with is the the Association for Safe International Road Travel (http://www.asirt.org) which sells country-specific Road Travel Reports (RTRs) on over 150 countries.

I strongly urge that foreign travelers not native to countries they're planning to drive in purchase the RTRs, as most only cost $25. For details on how to order, go to:

http://www.asirt.org/InformingRoadUsers/CountryRoadTravelReports/tabid/171/Default

Additionally, ASIRT provides a free report on México. See below:

http://www.asirt.org/portals/0/Reports/Mexico.pdf 

Four last thoughts for all foreign drivers:

a. Before you drive in México, consider NOT driving if you don't speak Spanish;

b. If you don't truly understand all driving regulations, don't drive; and

c. You can spend a lot of money on reputable taxis on a short visit to México; and

d. As we age, particularly as we enter our 60s, 70s and 80s, our reaction time and vision diminish to the point that place us at risk of a life-altering collision in a country that we've never driven in.