STAFF REPORTER ACCIDENTS, both minor and major, happened to 12.5 percent of cars in the Balearic Islands last year. The European Automobile Association (AEA) published a report by vehicle watchdog Audatex yesterday which puts the Balearics as the region of Spain with the second lowest proportional accident rate in Spain. The Islands were behind Murcia where only 12 percent of the region's vehicles registered accidents last year, but did better than Galicia (12.8%); the Canary Islands (13.8%); and Asturias, Madrid and Cantabria - all three regions reported 15 percent of their vehicles had accidents last year. At the other end of the scale, the region of La Rioja registered the highest percentage of 21.3 percent, meaning that over a fifth of its vehicles suffered accidents in 2008.

At a national level, 16 percent of Spain's 30 million vehicles reported some kind of accident during the same period. Audatex said that a principal cause is Spain's aging fleet of vehicles, reportedly “one of the oldest in Europe,” as well as factors related to poor driving such as distraction, tiredness and incorrect speed control.