Joan Collins OFFICERS from the Provincial Headquarters of the Traffic police will, between now and March 5, make 7'000 checks on the use of mobile telephones while driving on Balearic roads, according to the head of Road Safety, Antonio Femenia. In total, the Traffic department of the Guardia Civil will make 100'000 checks on Spanish roads to improve drivers' awareness of the distracting quality of the use of mobile phones at the wheel, which multiplies by four the risk of having an accident, said Femenia. He said he hoped that this special campaign would serve to reduce the risks of accidents through the illegal use of mobile phones. Femenia said that drivers have to deal with more and more distractions while driving, which increase the possibility of having an accident. Among these, and above all of them, is the progressively growing use of the mobile phone at the wheel. This offence carries the penalties of a fine of up to 300 euros, driving licence suspension of between one and three months and, when the points system comes in, the loss of three points, according to the traffic department. They said that in 2005 75'000 drivers throughout Spain were reported for this illegal act. During 2005, 2'875 fatal accidents occurred in Spain, leaving 3'329 people dead and another 3'000 injured. In 27.7 percent of these accidents, a distraction was the main factor which caused the accident, that is to say that 798 of these accidents in which 937 people died, could have been avoided if the driver had not been distracted. Femenia said that to drive while talking on the phone has been shown to be one of the circumstances which distracts the attention of a driver. Because of this, the traffic department has started this special campaign with the aim of educating society that “talking on the phone while driving can be a matter of life or death”. The checks on the roads will be accompanied by the broadcasting of informative messages on the radio, adverts in the press and messages on the overhead information screens on the road, with the slogan “driving while talking on the phone can cost lives”. Officers of the Traffic Group of the Guardia Civil will increase their checks on this risk factor by setting up points of vigilance with the aim of making 7'000 checks per day on drivers using Spanish roads, with a total of 100'000 checks envisaged during the whole period.