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Death toll on roads ‘intolerable’

Published on 13/01/2004

13 January 2004

MADRID – Spain’s general director of traffic said Tuesday the death toll on the country’s roads was “intolerable”.

Carlos Muñoz-Repiso said he believed a recent crackdown on drivers who break the speed limit or drink-drive may help get a message across and cut the death toll.

Spain has the most dangerous roads in Europe with the highest number of fatalities.

During the recent Festive, period 152 people met their deaths driving in Spain.

Figures showed that during 2002, 4,026 people were killed in accidents – or one person every two hours. Speeding and drink-driving are the most common cause of accidents.

Driving groups like the Automobile Association of Spain have called the high number of fatalities an “epidemic” on the same scale as Aids.

Munoz-Repiso said Tuesday: “In October we promoted an important modification of traffic security increasing sanctions especially for the drivers who repeatedly commit infractions, and who are the truly dangerous.

“This is an important start to send a message to the Spanish society that we have reached this situation, but that we cannot go on, that we cannot maintain four thousand dead people every year, this is not tolerable.”

A raft of new measures have been brought in this year in Spain to make the roads safer.

Drivers who leave their cars on the road must wear reflective armbands or coats.

There are heavier penalties for repeat offenders.

Those who have been convicted twice of these offences can lose their licences.

Munoz-Repiso, who made his comments during a television interview, said he believes that drink-driving was decreasing in Spain.

But he did concede that three-quarters of the drivers who died in accidents were found to be over the legal limit.

He said that licences based on a points system, like the British model, may be brought in by 2006.

Fatal accidents and injuries have been cut by greater use of seat belts, said Munoz-Repiso.

According to statistics, 92 percent of front seat drivers and passengers now use belts.

However, he said, still only eight percent of those travelling in the back of cars, put on a belt.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news