Only 16 per cent of Palma residents aged between 16 and 24 believe that alcohol consumption increases the risk of traffic accidents, according to a survey conducted by the Mapfre Institute of Road Safety, made public yesterday. Juan Buades, the regional director of Mapfre Mutualidad, said that even though this percentage is two points higher than the national average, it is “miniscule” and illustrates the “ostrich tactics of a group which does not want to see the real risk of drinking and driving.” Buades, accompanied by other company executives, presented the survey which involved interviewing 2'300 persons aged between 16 and 24 in 19 Spanish cities. The presentation was part of the eighth Mapfre Road Safety week which is aimed at reducing traffic accidents among teenagers, especially at the weekends. The campaign includes lectures and exhibitions at schools, the distribution of brochures and posters at leisure centres and universities and adverts in cinemas. The slogan is “This weekend, you choose” and stresses the fact that 20 young people die in traffic accidents and 50 others are confined to wheelchairs as a result of traffic accidents between Fridays and Sundays. But despite the views on alcohol, Buades found it “encouraging” that 88 per cent of those consulted in Palma said that they would volunteer for the rota system, in which friends take turns to remain sober while acting as chauffeur for their friends. Eighty two per cent of those consulted felt that it would help reduce traffic accidents, but only 38 per cent felt that it would help people drink less. Company spokeswoman Rosa Gallur spoke of the need for parents, teachers and the media to help raise awareness among young people. Twenty-two per cent of road deaths are in the 16-25 age group.

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