STAFF REPORTER OF the 118 people who died in a road traffic accident in the Balearic Islands last year, 33 percent of them were under 30 years old, according to information released by the Balearic Traffic Department.

Government Delegate, Ramón Socías, said that this percentage is the same as that recorded in 2003. He highlighted that more than half of these accidents were caused by drivers being distracted, drivers falling asleep and unnecessary speeding.

The 118 people who died in 2004 on Balearic roads, brings the ten year total to 1'301 deaths. The majority of accidents happened in Majorca (with 88 deaths), followed by Minorca (16) and Ibiza and Formentera (14). The black spots on the roads were noted as the Manacor road and the exit points on the Vía de Cintura.

According to the government research, the majority of victims were men (90) as opposed to women (28). In previous years the most accidents occurred during the day, however in 2004 there was an even percentage between those happening during the day (58) and those at night (47). Out of the total number of accidents, 13 happened on a motorbike, 17 on a moped, 9 were pedestrians and 7 on bicycles.

MAIN CAUSES l The main causes for the accidents were drivers being distracted (36 deaths), unnecessary speeding (32 deaths), drugs and alcohol (15 deaths) and right-of-way errors (9).

The remainder of the deaths were caused by over-taking (6), mistakes made by pedestrians (5) and other reasons (3).
Socías, accompanied by the Director of the Traffic Department, Francisco José Peralta, said that in 2005 several awareness campaigns will be launched to tackle these issues. For example in February the use of mobile phones campaign will be launched.

In April, advertisements on speeding will be shown. In May there will be awareness campaigns on the need to wear helmets. In June seat-belt safety will be launched. Finally in July drinking alcohol before driving will be tackled.

In 2004, 79'229 breathalyser tests were carried out, and 5 percent (4'001 tests) were positive. Ten percent of the total breathalyser tests (76'994) were carried out between 10 and 20 December, and there were 136 positive tests recorded. In terms of speeding, 1'558'440 speeding controls were carried out in 2004.