New license point system lauded for road-death breakthrough
The number of people killed on Spain's roads fell below 3,000 last year for the first time since 1968.
3 January 2008
MADRID - For the first time since 1968 the number of people killed on Spain's roads fell below 3,000 last year due largely to the continuing impact of a points-based driving license introduced in 2006, Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba announced Wednesday.
In total, 2,741 people died in traffic accidents in Spain last year, 9.1 percent less than in 2006 and almost a third less than in 2003. Since 1968, the number of deaths on Spanish roads had consistently remained above 3,000 as gains in car safety were offset by increasing numbers of vehicles on the roads.
"We have gone back 40 years and in this case going back 40 years is a good thing," Rubalcaba told journalists in a press conference. The interior minister attributed the decline to the "more responsible attitude" of drivers, brought about by the introduction of a points-based driving license in July 2006.
Rubalcaba noted that police fined 812,449 drivers last year, withdrawing more than 2.5 million points. In the final weeks of the year, changes to the Penal Code that can mean prison time for driving drunk or speeding further helped improve road safety. More than 1,700 people have been arrested.
[Copyright El Pais 2008]
Subject: Spanish news