We've noticed that one of the first things that visitors to Peru notice is the terrible driving and poorly maintained vehicles. A university study several years ago confirmed that statistically, Lima has the most dangerous roads in the world. It's a common site to see old, unmaintained buses cutting in and out of traffic. Accidents are frequent and traffic laws are rarely enforced.
In an attempt to make the roads safer the government recently introduced a new vehicle inspection system. Every vehicle in Lima will soon have to be inspected. This inspection requirement has caused a real headache for drivers. Imagine a city of 10 million people where every car has to be inspected for the first time. Then imagine there are only two certified inspection centers in the entire country! The lines have been backing up for miles with some folks waiting many hours to have their vehicle checked. But that's not the end of the story. An investigative reporter recently showed how fraudulent the new safety inspection really is. Most vehicles can not legally pass the new requirements. So, a group of ingenious entrepreneurs came up with a plan: Rental service! You can rent everything you need to make your bus or car pass inspection. They offer reflectors, first-aid kits, and fire extinguishers. But the most ridiculous rental items are brake shoes! For about $8.00 a bus driver can have a pair of brake shoes temporarily put on his bus. After the vehicle has been inspected they are removed and the deposit is returned. The unsafe bus continues on its way with a shiny new inspection sticker!
It seems the new inspection system will do little to improve the safety of Lima's streets and highways. We hope this will be a reminder to pray for God's blessings and safety for missionaries around the world!