Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic are gearing up for one of the busiest years on record for the travel industry as millions of visitors are expected to flock to the sunny island.
This week, officials announced the launching of a new high-tech road safety system to improve safety for tourists, a crucial feat considering the country’s lackluster traffic safety.
Here’s the latest on the Dominican Republic’s new safety strategy and how it might impact travelers.
Officials To Use Sensors And Drones To Boost Driving Safety
While the Dominican Republic is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean for travelers, the same cannot be said for its roads, which are notorious for bad drivers and fatal crashes.
Last October, three tourists died and dozens were injured when a tour bus veered off the road and crashed. The tragic incident sent shockwaves across the country, prompting authorities to consider new ways to tackle the issue.
This week, Dominican President Luis Abinader announced an innovative solution to the country’s traffic woes. According to the country’s leading public official, Dominican roads will soon benefit from the addition of high-tech safety systems that are expected to boost safety on the road.
Alongside executives from Waze, a Google subsidiary, the Dominican president said that new sensors will be installed across major intersections to measure traffic flows.
“The country will use the information provided by the Waze community through incident reports on their routes, with the goal of observing intersections and improving the flow of traffic”, the president’s office said in a statement.
On top of that, authorities will also deploy drones, which will conduct real-time data and traffic analyses to aid decision-making, allowing officers to better delegate resources. The Dominican government is also updating many of its aging traffic lights with newer digital ones across the country.
The decision comes as the Dominican Republic soars in popularity among travelers, many of whom are keen on renting a car while vacationing on the sun-soaked island. The move to high-tech security systems is all the more pressing as the tropical island relies on buses, taxis, and other forms of public transport that carry thousands of tourists daily.
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Fortunately, incidents like that of last October are relatively rare, but even so, risk factors like poor road conditions, outdated traffic monitoring systems, and vehicles all contribute to risky driving.
Is It Safe To Rent A Car In The Dominican Republic?
Renting a car is one of the most popular ways for travelers to experience the Dominican Republic’s majestic beauty and unparalleled nature.
Even so, travelers should carefully consider whether doing so is the right choice. Drivers in the Dominican Republic do not always abide by traffic rules, and speeding, illegal overtaking, and failing to use turn signals are common practices across the country.
It’s best to avoid renting a car in the Dominican Republic unless you are an experienced traveler. Instead, opt for taxis, busses, or private transfers, which provide comfort and better safety, especially in the hands of reputable firms.
Travelers can also book tours and excursions, which nearly always include pick up and drop off from popular resort locations.
If you do end up renting a car, plan your routes carefully, and always cross-check suggested routes with several GPS applications like Google Maps.
Driving in Punta Cana is generally safe, especially around large resort areas, but travelers should still familiarise themselves with the country’s driving culture before embarking on a road trip.
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