THE Balearic Traffic Deparment has withdrawn 1'398 driving licences between the months of January and October as opposed to 1'898 in the whole of 2004. During the first 10 months of the year proceedings have been started to disqualify 2'310 motorists. The principal causes have been drivers under the influence of alcohol (1'212 cases), speeding (669 cases) and dangerous overtaking (179 cases). The difference between the number of requests for withdrawal and the number of licences withdrawn is explained by the fact that some complaints are still being processed and others have kept their licence but have had another type of penalty imposed. According to the latest data for the islands, Majorca is the leader in driver disqualifications (1'014), followed by Minorca (209) and Ibiza-Formentera (175). However, in Ibiza and Formentera disqualifications in the first 10 months of the year were in excess those for the whole of 2004, which wasn't the case in the rest of the islands. The Traffic Department launched a campaign last week to discourage drinking and driving with more random alcohol testing of drivers, accompanied by adverts on television, radio and in the press. There will also be messages flashed up on the signs over the roads. The campaign's slogan is, “At the wheel, not even a single drop of alcohol”. Different Government reports say that alcohol is reponsable for 30 to 50 percent of deaths on the road. The campaign will run until December 22. The Traffic Department has said that during this period it will establish 800 control points throughout Spain with the objective of carrying out 15'000 breath tests daily. It was pointed out that under article 65 of the Road Safety Law it is a very serious offence to drive a vehicle while over the legal limit for alcohol and also to drive under the influence of any type drug which affects the ability to drive, narcotics for example. For these very serious offences the law allows the imposition of a fine of between 302 and 602 euros together with disqualification for up to 3 months for the first offence.

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