Alcohol and drugs tests for drivers are commonplace in Mallorca. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

The Guardia Civil's traffic unit (Tráfico) makes no secret of where it mounts controls for alcohol and drugs.

A corporal in charge of one particular control in Palma says: "Everyone wants to know the location of the controls, but the answer is very simple - entrances to and exits from the capital and the accesses to the tourist areas. We are not revealing any secrets if we say that every weekend we mount special operations to control vehicles, drugs and alcohol. It is an open secret. Our primary objective is to ensure that everyone gets home safely."

Another officer from this Palma control observes that "people in Palma tend to drink much less than in the 'part forana' ". "In other words, we detect fewer offenders for drug or alcohol consumption in Palma than on the roads of the 'pueblos'."

Controls, especially at night, have been common in Palma and the larger municipalities for years. Drivers in places such as Alcudia, Calvia, Inca, Llucmajor and Manacor have grown to expect them. These are municipalities where there are local police numbers to also carry out controls.

It is the other municipalities, which don't have the police resources, where there tend to be most positive tests. This is supported by Tráfico data for "surprise" controls that they mount in these municipalities.

In Palma, and on the Via Cintura specifically, there are large controls at the weekend. All vehicles have to pass through them and there is selective testing of drivers. While officers have their eye out for young drivers especially, it is those between the ages of 40 and 50 who return the highest number of positive tests.