Tougher traffic laws cut road deaths in Spain

3rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Tougher traffic laws have slashed the number of road accident deaths in Spain, which fell for the seventh year in a row in 2010 to their lowest level in nearly five decades, the government said Monday.

A total of 1,730 people died in road accidents last year, a 9.1 percent drop over the previous year, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told a news conference.

"There were fewer deaths, fewer accidents and fewer serious injuries, so when it comes to road safety it was an encouraging year. We have returned to the figures of 1963 even though there are many more cars and drivers now," he said.

In 1963 there were 1,785 road deaths at a time when about one million vehicles circulated on Spain's roads compared to just over 31 million vehicles currently, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The government credits the introduction of tough new road laws as well as the greater use of alcohol checkpoints and speed scanners for the decline in deaths from road accidents.

Spain introduced a driver's licence penalty points system in July 2006, and at the end of 2007 it stiffened penalties for traffic violations in a bid to crack down on speeding, drink driving and other infringements and slash the number of deaths on its roads.

Rubalcaba said the government plans to approve new road safety measures that target vulnerable groups like young children, the elderly and cyclists, during the first quarter of this year to further reduce road accident deaths.

© 2011 AFP

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