By Humphrey Carter
THE introduction of the new point driving licence system in Spain at the start of this month appears to have finally convinced the vast majority of drivers to comply with the traffic laws. A marked fall in road deaths and accidents has been reported across the country. Yesterday Balearic traffic police chiefs announced a 50 percent drop in the number of deaths on the roads during the first two weeks of July this year in comparison to the same period in 2005. According to figures produced by the Balearic traffic police department yesterday, between July 1 and 18, six lives have been lost on the Balearic roads, half of the death toll for the first two weeks of July last year. However, at the moment, the total number of road deaths since the start of this year, 53 in 46 separate accidents, is only one short of the death toll for the same period last year - 54. But, what traffic police chiefs are encouraged by is that the number of people aged under 30 involved in fatal accidents has fallen considerably.
Tragically, the biggest killer on the roads continues to be speed. But, traffic police chiefs are confident that the new driving licence points system is having a marked effect on drivers who face being docked points on-the-spot when caught breaking the traffic law. A greater presence of the Guardia Civil traffic police on the roads, and in the sky, is making drivers more cautious.
Tiredness or driver distraction are the second most common cause of fatal accidents in the Balearics this year. While driving under the influence of alcohol or/and drugs has been the cause of six accidents.
The most tragic month on the roads this year so far was May during which 14 lives were lost while ten people died on the roads in April.
According to the latest reports, the vast majority of the fatal accidents, 40 in total, happened in Majorca, four more than during the first six months of last year, while in Ibiza, the death toll fell, from 15 last year to 11 this year. In Minorca, two people have died on the roads so far this year, one less than 2005.
But, despite the decrease in the number of deaths this month, traffic police chiefs are not resting on their laurels. The new points licence system awareness campaign being carried out across the country in order to make sure that all drivers are fully aware of how the new system works and what the penalties are will continue to run throughout the summer. Over the past few weeks, since the new system was launched, male drivers have been docked more points than their female colleagues while one of the biggest offences is failing to wear a seat belt.


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