Staff Reporter

TWELVE paraplegics will this weekend accompany Guardia Civil officers at six alcohol control points on Majorca, with the aim of making drivers aware of the grave consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The Balearic Delegation of the National Federation of Associations of Paraplegics and Disabled people (ASPAYM) are taking part in the initiative. This was explained at a press conference given by members of the Federation's board of directors, Jose Luis Aguilo, Matias Bosch and Guillem Fullana. The 12 volunteers all have spinal injuries caused directly or indirectly by traffic accidents.

In Spain, between 1'000 and 1'200 people suffer spinal injuries each year, some 80 percent of them through road accidents.
This weekend, the ASPAYM volunteers will warn drivers about the consequences of driving recklessly. “Don't race, don't drink, don't change your wheels” is the slogan chosen for the campaign, in which the volunteers are not trying to “scare” motorists, but to explain to them the real dangers of combining speeding with the consumption of alcohol, and of not using other safety measures, such as seat belts.

Bosch said that none of the volunteers will talk about their personal experiences, but the message will be that drivers should take into account these dangers when driving, reminding them that 80 percent of spinal injuries are caused through traffic accidents and these are not always the driver's own fault but can be caused by other people acting recklessly. He added that the real tragedy of road accidents is the people who survive and are condemned to spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair.

Aguilo and Fullana find it especially “sad” that children are damaged for life, in some cases because their parents did not put a seat belt on them.


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