A few days before the beginning of July and the summer holidays for thousands of citizens, the General Directorate of Traffic is launching a new awareness campaign to avoid incidents on the road.
This year, and for the first time in the Agency’s history, the campaign has focused on incidents on interurban roads, a deadly situation of which there is hardly any awareness and knowledge, as it is limited in most cases to the family or staff. A situation that changes when the victim is a well-known or famous person, in which case the social repercussion is greater.
“Knowing it is starting to avoid it” is the slogan chosen to draw attention to this type of road incident and, to be aware of it, the DGT has resorted to two public figures, famous in Spain; the singer and composer Amaia Romero and the actor Eduard Fernández. Both explain some of the causes for which each year and in the country, more than 100 people die by being run over; some for not wearing reflective elements, others for the driver’s imprudence, for crossing in the wrong places or for simply working on the road… all of these situations, which more frequently than is believed, can end in fatal incidents.
One of the reasons that has led the DGT to focus the summer campaign on abuses is the high number of this type of fatal incidents. Last year, 110 people were run over, that is, 10% of the total number of deaths. If only the summer period is taken into account, last summer 23 deaths were registered, 2 less than the summer of 2020 when attention was already drawn to this matter at the beginning of it and 9 more than in the summer of 2019.
In order for the campaign to reach the greatest possible number of citizens, two television advertisements, two radio spots that can be heard on the main radio stations in the country, several graphics for print media and different pieces for digital media and social networks have been created. In addition, the campaign can also be seen during this summer in cinema circuits and outdoors in advertising elements of the cities.
More displacements, although of shorter duration
So far this year, long-distance journeys are above 2019 levels. Taking this trend into account, the DGT estimates for the months of July and August is that there will be 93 million long-distance journeys, 2.4% more than the real movements that occurred last summer and with a significant increase in weekend departures and short-term trips. During the month of July, 44 of the 93 million trips are expected to take place.
To attend to the flow of planned movements and that they are carried out smoothly and safely, the General Directorate of Traffic has established four special operations for this summer:
1st summer departure operation: from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 July.
August 1 departure: from Friday July 29 to Monday August 1.
Special operation of August 15: from Friday the 12th to Monday the 15th of August.
Return operation: from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 August.
It must be borne in mind that Spain is a transit country for millions of citizens from other European countries, who return to their countries of origin in Africa and who opt for a private vehicle to travel. For this, the Government has established a special device Crossing the Strait that has been operational since June 15. More than 700,000 trips by car by road are expected to cross the Peninsula and which, on average, take 15 hours to complete (Junquera-Algeciras and Irún-Algeciras).
In accordance with this provision, the General Directorate of Traffic has the Horcajo de la Sierra and Valdepeñas rest areas open.
In addition to the Strait Passage, there is also the Passage to Portugal. The DGT is in coordination with the Portuguese authorities to attend to the more than 250,000 vehicles expected to circulate in Spain from France to Portugal for holidays.
Concern about the increase in deaths on high-capacity roads
The challenge for this summer is that the increase in planned trips is not reflected in road incidents. In the summer of 2021, 189 people died, 202 in the summer of 2020 and 215 in 2019, figures that represent a huge advance compared to ten years ago, when 324 people died in the summer of 2011.
However, there is a concern in the DGT because this year the fatalities on high-capacity roads are growing. Specifically so far this year, fatalities on highways and motorways have grown by 35% compared to the figures for 2019, just the opposite of what happens with conventional roads, traditionally the most dangerous, in which the accident rate has decreased 1% in the same period.
In an attempt to attenuate road exits, behind which there is usually excessive speed or distraction, the DGT will increase vigilance over this concurrent factor on highways and expressways with mobile radars on board both labelled and camouflaged cars of the Traffic Group of the Guardia Civil. In addition, during the first week of July, a campaign will be carried out in which speed controls will be intensified on all types of roads and at any time.
For distractions, the DGT has installed 29 new surveillance cameras for the use of mobile phones and seat belts, bringing the total to 245.
Summer with new rules in the Traffic Law
On March 21, the new Traffic Law came into force, with important modifications. Among the most important are:
Mobile: 6 points are deducted for using, holding in your hand, mobile phone devices while driving. Since 2016, distracted driving has been the leading cause of fatal incidents.
Seat belt and protection elements. 4 points are deducted for not using, or not using the seat belt properly, child restraint systems, helmet and other mandatory protection elements. 1 out of every 4 deaths in a traffic incident is still not wearing a seat belt.
Speed: Eliminated the possibility that passenger cars and motorcycles could exceed the speed limits on conventional roads by 20 km/h when overtaking other vehicles.
Alcohol. Underage drivers who drive any vehicle may not circulate with an alcohol level greater than 0.0, both in blood and in expired air. It is an infraction that does not change, it continues to be classified as very serious.
Cyclists. It is now mandatory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to completely change lanes when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, 6 points to deduct when overtaking endangering or hindering cyclists without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5 m. Stopping or parking in bike lanes or on cycle paths is also prohibited.
Recovery of card points. 2 years without committing violations that deduct points, the driver recovers his initial balance of points.
The General Directorate of Traffic reminds us that we all want to go out, travel and enjoy life… we cannot spoil it on the road. Risking is not worth it, excuses are useless, because road safety is everyone’s responsibility.