Spain tops EU rates for pedestrian deaths

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Around 15.7 people are killed on the roads each year per million inhabitants.

30 January 2008

MADRID - More pedestrians are killed crossing roads in Spain each year than in any other European country, according to a new survey that calls on Spanish traffic authorities and the public to work to improve road safety.

The study, presented Tuesday by consumer testing group EuroTest and the RACC drivers' association, found that in 2005, 680 pedestrians were killed while crossing or walking alongside Spanish roads and highways. That equates to 15.7 pedestrian deaths per million people, a figure considerably higher than in Italy and the United Kingdom with 11.5 deaths per million, or Austria and Germany with 10.9 deaths per million. Out of the 10 European countries studied, the Netherlands had the lowest rate of pedestrian deaths, with 4.6 per million people.

The higher death rate in Spain is not coincidental. The study's authors found that of the 680 pedestrians killed in 2005, 91.5 percent were not using a crosswalk, compared to an average of 77 percent in all of the countries studied. Nonetheless, the authors note that the situation has improved since their previous study in 2001, with deaths on Spanish highways falling from 469 to 317 and on urban roads from 377 to 296.

Even so, authorities realise that more must be done to raise awareness among pedestrians about road safety. Barcelona has started adding signs at crosswalks throughout the city warning that "one out of every three people killed in traffic accidents were on foot." Madrid, meanwhile, unveiled a similar initiative Tuesday aimed at encouraging pedestrians to use crosswalks, many of which will be painted with new markings warning of the risks of not using them.

According to Pedro Calvo, the head of the city's security and mobility department, the campaign is targeted especially at "high risk groups" such as the elderly and children.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Ángeles Espinosa 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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