By Humphrey Carter
THE Guardia Civil launched a massive Easter road safety campaign over the weekend and from today, three unmarked traffic police cars will be on the prowl in the Balearics.

A 124-strong fleet of specially equipped unmarked police cars, unveiled by the Traffic department director general Pere Navarro yesterday, has been devised to provide essential back-up to regular traffic police forces during peak holiday periods.

Pere Navarro said that the presence of a Guardia Civil patrol does have an effect on drivers, “but it only lasts for as long as they are in sight of the patrol car, the unmarked vehicles will therefore catch those drivers breaking traffic laws. “The message we want to send out is that one vehicle on the road could be an unmarked patrol car.” The slogan for the new road safety campaign is “we can't drive for you,” and in the Balearics, a series of spot alcohol checks were carried out.
The unmarked patrols will remain in operation in the Balearics until the end of the summer, at the earliest, and will change their patrol areas regularly to prevent drivers recognising the patrol cars.

Each car will carry two members of the Guardia Civil, they will be in uniform but will not be wearing their caps.
Their primary concern will be to spot and stop dangerous drivers and that includes the failure to use hands-free kits while driving and talking on a mobile, speeding, driving too close to the vehicle in front, dangerous overtaking and carrying out illegal maneouvres and turns.

All drivers stopped will also be asked to take an alcohol test.
The traffic police have been operating ten unmarked vehicles across Spain for the past ten months as part of a pilot scheme and, on the back of the huge success of the initiative, the operation goes nation wide from today. Navarro added yesterday that over Easter, the unmarked patrols and the “invisible officers,” as he calls them, will be making a special effort to enforce the seat belt law. The traffic chief said that the percentage of drivers complying with the law is not as high as he would like.

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