By Humphrey Carter
THE poor state of the road system in the Balearics has been blamed for the high accident rate.
Less than 24 hours after a pile-up on the Palma ring road, the secretary general of the General Trasport Union in the Balearics, Pedro Berruezo, said that insufficient roads, the lack of sign posts and road side information and the overall poor condition of the roads are the main causes of accidents and pose an unnecessary threat to transport workers as well as the driving public. Speaking ahead of a road safety conference on Monday organised by the International Federation of Transport Workers in order to draw “public, government and social” attention to the problems and dangers, Pedro Berruezo said that in the Balearics there are some 18.000 transport workers, most of whom are drivers having to work under dangerous conditions. He said yesterday that even the kind of tarmac used in the Balearics is of inferior quality to that used on the mainland and fails to meet the road safety standards.450 transport workers lose their lives every year during working hours in Spain, Pedro Berruezo said, adding that 1.500 suffer serious injury while a further 6.000 escape with minor injuries. However, in reailty the figure is much higher because the administration does not take into account the number of self-employed drivers killed on the roads. The theme for Monday's conferenece in Palma is “Tiredness can kill” and will focus on the fact that the transport sector is dogged by the highest number of mortalities than in any sector of the work force. Union bosses will also be calling on the authorities to introduce the necessary legislation to bring an end to drivers working more than 12 hours per day or 100 per week and that companies are made more aware of the illnesses caused by tiredness. The General Transport Union would like to see a maximum 40 hours week introduced for transport workers and greater rest time.
The Council of Majorca has only just approved a set of wide ranging road improvements which it hopes will improve road travel in Majorca and make the roads much safer. In the past 48 hours there have been two serious accidents with one 29-year-old killed and at least five others injured.

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