Photos: A. Sepulveda
IT was no idle threat when the Guardia Civil announced last week that it was to launch a major pre-Christmas crackdown on drink driving and yesterday the police mounted the biggest ever spot check in Inca.
Yesterday, the Guardia Civil set up their checkpoint at the entrance to the town and checked some 200 drivers as they came off the Palma to Inca motorway.
Over the past week, nearly 4'000 drivers have been tested as part of the pre-Christmas awareness campaign.
Some police sources say it has been devised as a shock and awe operation to ram the message home to people that they must not drink and drive over the festive season and that, if they are caught, will face heavy penalties, including the confiscation of licenses.
Since the campaign started on December 10, the Guardia Civil have mounted check points on all of the island's main roads and at all times of the day.
Few areas have escaped as the Guardia Civil have literally swept across Majorca with their anti-drink driving campaign which has netted 164 drivers.
This is not the first campaign of this size mounted this year. The Guardia Civil carried out an island-wide campaign in July and during the two-week operation tested 5.400 drivers - 158 of which tested positive.
However, never have so many checks been carried out in such a short period of time before. The operation continues until Monday when police chiefs will assess the results and decide what action to take over Christmas and New Year.
Whatever anti-drink driving measures the Guardia Civil decide to take, they are going to be tough with the government and police chiefs determined to reduce the death toll on the roads in the Balearics.
Many members of the Guardia Civil will be working overtime during the next few weeks with 8 to ten Guardia, under the command of an official, needed to man each check point.
Setting up the check point area also requires the services of a private contractor which takes care of positioning traffic signs warning drivers of the need to start slowing down as they are nearing a Guardia Civil check point.
The Guardia Civil have to make sure that their alcohol check points cause the minimum of disruption to traffic.