PALMA THE campaign stepping up police vigilance on secondary or “B” roads in the Balearics, which started on Monday, comes to an end today. Ramon Socias, the Spanish Government's representative to the Balearics, Maria Teresa Sau, the head of the Provincial Traffic department, said that the campaign had been started because “we don't want drivers to think they don't need to comply with the traffic laws on the “B” roads. “In the Balearics at the end of Summer the “B” roads are frequently used by people going to the beach, fairs or Summer fiestas. We want to show drivers that these “B” roads are also subject to police vigilance and that it is not confined to the main roads. There is no exemption from punishment on any road. “The campaign consists of more Guardia Civil officers being present on the “B” roads, giving special attention to testing drivers for alcohol, speeding, the use of a seat belt or a crash helmet, having children correctly strapped in, overtaking, use of mobile phones, maintaining a safe distance between their car and the one in front, and quadbikes and tractors, which habitually use these roads”.

Socias recalled that so far this year 74 people have died on Balearic roads, of which 46 (some 62 percent) lost their lives on “B” roads, 11 on dual carriageways and 17 on “A” roads. In 2006, when the total of deaths in traffic accidents was 102 on the islands, 67 people died on “B” roads, 13 on dual carriageways and 22 on “A” roads.

Ramon Socias highlighted the fact that “from January 1 this year until now 11 people have died on dual carriageways on the islands, while in 2006 a total of 13 people died on these roads. That is to say that by the end of the year more than 13 people will have died on Balearic dual carriageways this year”.

He went on to say, “in 2006 some 41 percent of those who died in traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt, a crash helmet or, in the case of children, were not strapped in. During this year this percentage has increased to 49 percent which is very worrying”.

Socias expressed his confidence that, “the first wave of withdrawal of driving licences because all points have been lost will have its effect and the drivers who have committed offences will realise that this is not a joke. Repression is not an ideal situation, but offences must be punished. For example, I cannot understand why parents allow small children to stand on the back seat or put their head out of the car window”.

Socias said that “generally the speed limit for a “B” road is 90 kilometres per hour, but the Highway Code says that the driver should adjust his or her speed to match the road conditions. In other words, on a narrow road with a lot of bends it is not a good idea to try to drive at 90 kilometres per hour”.

Socias also said he will be meeting the Council of Majorca to talk about the installation of barriers on dual carriageways to prevent vehicles straying onto the the other side. He added that he will have another meeting, this time with the Council of Majorca, Palma council and the Port Authority to talk about possible ways of diverting heavy traffic from the Paseo Maritimo.

Socias and Sau also announced the installation of six radar traps this year, two (one in each direction) on the Palma to Llucmajor motorway, two on the Inca motorway and the other two on Palma's Via Cintura. Two more radar traps will be installed on Ibiza and another one on Minorca.