BETWEEN Christmas and the San Sebastian festival celebrated last week, 69 percent of the 2'263 drivers who underwent voluntary breathalyser tests proved negative. The Balearic Interior ministry confirmed yesterday that its Emergencies department had carried out a prevention and public awareness campaign to highlight the risks that people run if they drink and drive. The project included asking drivers to submit voluntarily to standard tests. During the holiday period, 2'263 drivers were willing to collaborate in roadside breath tests, 1'610 were men and the remainder, women.
The trials, which were carried out by Civil Defence volunteers, began on 7 December last year and concluded with the San Sebastián festivals.
There were twelve manned control points including Palma, Alcudia, Petra, Porto Cristo, Sa Pobla, Ciudadela, Mahón, San Antonio and Ibiza, which focussed on areas with an abundance of night life. Results showed that the hours between one and three o'clock in the morning is the time when there is least likelihood of drinking and driving incidents. Of the tests that were performed during this timeframe, 72 percent proved negative, a percentage which lowers to 64 percent between three and five o'clock in the morning. Analysing the age groupings of the volunteers, 77 percent of those under the age of 18 proved negative, whilst the 18 to 30 group registered somewhat less, 66 percent. Of the over 30s however, 76 percent tested negative.
The percentage of those who tested positive was higher amongst men (34 percent) whilst the figure for women was somewhat lower (25 percent).
The Interior ministry decribed the experiment and its associated trials as a very positive experience, as the collaboration provided by the public exceeded expectations. Findings also showed a considerable level of public awareness about the self-evident dangers of drinking and driving.
However, in spite of these promising trials, the ministry looked set for more campaigns of this nature in the future.
An annual schedule is being drawn up to plan a timetable of further voluntary drink/drive controls.
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