THE special traffic campaign for the Christmas holidays, which closed at midnight on Tuesday with 100 deaths on the roads - three of which occurred in Minorca - has resulted in 14 fewer road deaths than last year.
Though still a large figure, when put into context, there has been a sizable fall in the average number of road deaths during the Christmas period in comparison with the number of deaths at Christmas 2003-2004, just four years ago.
More than one third of those who died did so during the first four days of a period which lasted 18 days. The day with the most deaths was December 22 when 31 people died in 11 accidents. This was followed by December 24 when 10 people died.
If the seven deaths in the afternoon of December 21 (when many company Christmas parties were being held) and the five from Sunday, December 23 are added to these, the result is that, during the first four days of the Christmas period, more than a third of the fatal accidents took place. These figures would suggest that the recent reform to the penal code to put dangerous drivers in jail has not had any immediately visible effect.
However, from Tuesday, Christmas Day, the statistics turn around, and the deaths only exceeded 2006 on three of the 14 remaining days of the Christmas period.
In fact, on Saturday, January 5, there were no fatal accidents at all on the roads, something which only happens once every few years, according to the Traffic Department.
The most tragic accident of these holidays, which left three people dead, took place on Sunday in Minorca, when three young men of between 18 and 20 years, were burned to death after their vehicle left the road.
A fourth occupant of the car, a 19-year-old man, was slightly injured according to the 061 emergency service and the Guardia Civil.
The amount of deaths on Spanish roads during the Christmas period is the lowest since 1988-1989, the first year for which the Traffic Department has figures. On that occasion 317 people died, the same amount as died at Christmas 1989-1990. Since then, the most tragic Christmas has been 1991-1992 when 321 people lost their lives in a total of 261 accidents.