THE Provincial Traffic Department will, from tomorrow, install five fixed radar speed traps on Majorca, two on Minorca and two on Ibiza to try to reduce speeding, which was the cause of 26 of the 88 fatal accidents on Balearic roads in 2006.

This was announced yesterday by the Spanish Government's representative to the islands, Ramon Socias, as he was making a review of the road accident rate recorded in the Balearics last year, when the number of deaths (102) fell by 7.2 percent in comparison with 2005 (110) and was the lowest recorded since 1983.

The radars will be installed at predetermined spots (which have not yet been finalised) on the main roads of Majorca, those which go from Palma to Manacor, Inca, Llucmajor and Andratx. On Minorca and Ibiza they will be installed on the two main roads, Mahon to Ciutadella (Minorca) and Ibiza to San Antonio.

Socias said that drivers will be informed of the whereabouts of these radar traps when they have been installed and said it was absurd to exceed the speed limits for the short journeys which are made on the islands, as drivers are risking their lives and those of others “to save three or four minutes”.

After speeding (29 percent), the most common causes found in the 88 fatal crashes on 2006 were distraction and sleepiness of the driver (25 percent), ignoring “stop” and “give way” signs (12 percent), dangerous overtaking (10 percent), driving under the influence of drugs (9 percent) and pedestrians (9 percent). Socias added that some 40 percent of those who lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2006 were not wearing a seat belt (or a crash helmet in the case of motorcyclists).

He also said he was pleased with the general improvement in the fatality figures, and especially with the figure for those under 30 years old (some 32 percent less). On motorways there was a decrease in deaths of 11 percent (80) and on urban roads there was a rise of 10 percent (22 deaths). Socias announced that he will discuss how to solve this problem with the Local Police Forces.

On Majorca there were 71 deaths in traffic accidents, five percent less than in 2005; on Ibiza and Formentera 21 people died, some 30 percent less; and on Minorca the number of fatalities stayed the same at 10.

With regard to the driving license points system which came into effect last July, Socias said that although there had been a 16 percent reduction in road deaths during the second half of 2006 and a 4 percent rise during the first half, it was too soon to say if these figures were due to the new system.

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