IT was a bitter disappointment to the Spanish government yesterday when the Traffic directorate made public a report for 2007, showing that police radar installations at black spots and at other points on roads throughout the country had failed to reduce both speeding or indeed the accident rate on Spain's highways - in fact they had risen by 6.5 percent in relation to the previous year.
The European Automobile Association (AEA) revealed in their study to determine how fixed radar installations were affecting the behaviour of drivers at black spots and at other specific locations around the country, that last year 3'289 accidents took place resulting in the loss of life of 134 people and in 5'269 victims being injured to a greater or lesser degree. AEAm were unequivocable in their analysis that the figures make evident an increase of 6.5 percent over and above the accident rate recorded in 2006 but confirmed that there had been a 21.6 percent reduction in the number of fatalities. Meanwhile, the Traffic Directorate reported that the number of black spots continues to increase by 7.1 percent with another 53 being registered in 2007 that were not there in 2006. The European Automobile Association said that accidents and speeding were on the increase in spite of the large sums of money invested - to the tune of 50 million euros - and that not all of the installations had been centred on recognised black spots. The AEA reported that at the 516 sites where such machinery had been fixed, only 139 (26.9%) coincided with a black spot and the rest had been set up at locations where there was only a minimal or even a zero accident rate. The AEA report went one step further by saying that in comparison with its previous report, the match of radar to black spot percentage had fallen by 7 percent with only 26.9 percent of radar control points being set up at what could be described as dangerous road points - last year the percentage stood at 34. The Balearics was registered as having 75 percent of its fixed radar units coinciding with known accident black spots.