Palma.—Spain's prosecution service has announced that any drivers who cause death or serious injury will initially be charged with negligent homicide – an offence which can lead to between one and four years in jail.

This effectively means that in the event of a car crash, the driver found to be at fault under Spain's road traffic act – and inevitably, there will always be one driver who falls into this category – may face jail where one or more people are either killed or suffer life-threatening wounds.

However, in reality this scenario is likely to be where the cause of the accident is due to one or more of five faults on the part of the driver: travelling at more than 150 kilometres per hour; using a mobile telephone whilst at the wheel; driving too close to another vehicle; being over the permitted limit for alcohol consumption, or not taking at least the minimum number of breaks to avoid tiredness – usually recommended to be at least one every two hours, Serious injuries are defined as spinal cord or brain damage, or severe multiple bruising including broken bones, particularly where this leads to internal damage.

Such injuries could lead to sentences of between three months and three years in jail. Prosecutors say the number of speed-related offences has fallen by 48 per cent since 2010, although this is largely due to greater difficulties on the part of the police in detecting them.

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