Palma.—Balearic roads continue to claim an alarming high number of lives with new figures stating that 45 people were killed in traffic accidents last year, a rise of almost 22 percent.

This comes despite more police spot checks and the introduction of the points system on driving licences.
The Balearics has one of the largest car fleets in the country but investment on new roads has been halted because of the on-going financial crisis and a push to get motorists to use public transport. But the high death toll will bring further pressure onto the local authorities to do more to improve road and driving safety.

Overall in Spain 1'304 people were killed in traffic accidents last year, a fall of 12 percent.
Although the figure is still high the Traffic Authorities nationwide have taken heart from the fact that the death toll is the lowest since 1960 when there was just one million vehicles and two million drivers. Today, there are 31 million vehicles and 26.6 million cars.

Principal cause of accidents
An estimated 77 percent of mortal traffic accident took place on “conventional roads” or “B” roads.
The principal cause of accident was vehicles leaving the road at speed which accounted for almost 50 percent of all road deaths. A total of 128 pedestrians were killed last year along with 47 cyclists, 33 moped drivers and 188 motorcyclists.

The traffic authorities said that there was a reduction of 25 percent in accidents involving the drivers and moped riders aged between 15-24. This age group is the one which is most at risk in accidents.

The municipal police in Majorca are also trying to tackle the accident nightmare by focusing their attention on local school children. A special team from the municipal police give classes on road safety in local schools. There have also been calls to make the driving exam and theory test even harder. “We will continue with our prevention campaigns warning motorists of the dangers of speeding and of drinking alcohol or taking drugs,” said a police officer yesterday.

The police are deeply concerned that the number of accidents caused by drug abuse by drivers continues to rise.
Over the Christmas period the Traffic Authorities invested heavily in a television campaign warning drivers of the dangers of alcohol.
There has even been calls for tourists to be given road safety classes before they get behind the wheel in Spain. This idea has been rejected by the major motoring groups in the country.


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