Staff Reporter
FOR the first time in Balearic history the new Head of Traffic in the Balearic Islands is a woman, María Teresa Sau Llanas, who yesterday announced that she will continue the hard work to reduce the number of road accidents.

The new Head of Traffic, who used to be the Head of the Traffic Department in Minorca during the last fifteen years, will be taking over from Francisco Ruiz de Peralta. The Central Government Representative, Ramón Socías, was also present when Sau accepted her new role. With this female representation in the Traffic Department, it may lead people to think that the men have finally learnt that women are indeed better drivers (!)
In terms of the traffic campaigns that Sau will be in charge of this year, this will include speeding controls, which will be in force between 11 and 24 April and from 1 to 14 August. In addition, she will heading the Helmet Campaign from 16 to 29 May, in order to reinforce the message the helmets are imperative when travelling on two wheels.

Other vehicles will also be targetted from 13 to 26 June and 17 to 30 October, when Sau will be managing a Seatbelt Safety Campaign. A drink driving awareness campaign will be unleashed from 11 to 24 July and from during the Christmas Sesaon from 9 to 22 December.

On the other hand, Sau did comment that it will be impossible to employ more people to work in the Balearic Traffic department this year, which is suffering from staff shortages. María Teresa Sau Llanas also added that the vacant positions will not be able to be offered to external candidates, as they have to go to a public competition which is the responsibility of the Central Administration. After this, all residents can then apply for the jobs on offer.

The civil servants working in the Balearic Islands are “over worked”, she added, precisely because the vacant positions are not being covered. The Trade Unions have asked for more staff in the Traffic Department and Sau said that “it would be great” if this happened, but that it is not her decision to take.

With respect to the new Head of Traffic's commitments to reduce the number of road accidents, the statistics from a Government report show that the number of road deaths has decreased in the first half of this year, when compared with the same period last year. As a result, the number of deaths caused by road accidents has decreased from 48 to 24.

The main causes of death for this year's accidents were due to excessive speeding (9 deaths), distracted driver or tiredness (6 deaths), drugs or drink driving (3), not stopping at stop signs (2), unaware pedestrians (2) and other causes (2). Of these 24 deaths that have so far happened this year on Balearic roads, 18 were men and 6 were women. Also thirteen of these people were not wearing a helmet or using a seat belt. Five pedestrians died in these road accidents, but so far no cyclists have been knocked off their bikes and killed.

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