USING a mobile telephone whilst driving is the second most likely cause of a car accident in the Balearic Islands, and as a result, the traffic police launched a control campaign from 14 to 27 February. During that period, they carried out 7'957 visual controls on drivers on the roads in the Balearic Islands and this led to 101 drivers being sentenced.
During this period, a total of 2'164 cars were stopped to investigate if the driver had been talking on a mobile phone whilst driving, out of these 101 drivers were actually sentenced and another 10 were fined for other reasons.
On a national level this campaign, which was carried out by the General Traffic Department, stopped a total of 4'093 drivers who were using a mobile phone whilst driving.
In the Balearics, 369 of those vehicles stopped were using hands-free systems, which is a small percentage of drivers if compared to the Spanish average. Francisco Ruiz de Peralta, Head of the Traffic Department, advised that drivers should switch off their mobile phones when they are driving. When a mobile phone rings it causes the driver to become stressed, and makes their hearts beat faster which ultimately affects their driving. Although it is true that mobile phones are useful in the event of an accident, added Peralta.
The Road Safety Law states that drivers of vehicles must have freedom of movement, permanent visual contact and attention to the road and their driving, which guarantees the safety of the driver, as well as the rest of the people travelling in the vehicle and the other road users.... There is now more information on the relationship between the use of mobile phones and driving, said Peralta. In Toronto (Canada) a study with 700 drivers involved in simulated accidents was completed, and concluded that a driver is four times more likely to have an accident when using a mobile phone whilst driving than when not. The study also concluded that using a mobile phone whilst driving is equal to having consumed one gram of alcohol.