Following a tragic summer on the roads of Spain, another disappointing buck to the trend of reducing fatalities, it is becoming increasingly clear to the DGT that a lack or responsible action by drivers can only be combated through further enforcement.
The Director General of Traffic, Pere Navarro, is making it very clear, that the only way of dealing with the growing problem is by forcing more responsible driving and, for those still not prepared to slow down, more chance of them being hit in the pocket through fines.
During the latest meeting of the Road Safety Commission of the Congress, Pere Navarro has proposed to unify at 90 kilometres per hour maximum speed limit on all secondary or conventional roads, as these roads are the location for the majority of serious and fatal incidents, in fact some 76% of all fatalities are on this type of road. Currently, on roads with a hard shoulder of 1.5 metres or more, the limit is currently 100 kilometres per hour.
Slowing down secondary roads is not a new project, Pere Navarro himself acknowledged that his predecessors had tried without success. We are one of the few countries in Europe (along with Romania, Poland, Ireland, Germany, and Austria) with the highest limit is 100 kilometres per hour. In most European countries, the maximum limit is 90, and some it is 80 kilometres per hour.
However, to demonstrate that this measure works, Pere Navarro gave France as an example, where after three consecutive years of increase in deaths, after the lowering of the maximum limit to 80 kilometres per hour, the number of incidents was reduced by 8.4 percent in May, 9.3 in June, and 5.5 in July.
However, reducing maximum permitted speed limits is only successful if drivers then abide by the change. Still, one of the leading contributing factors to road traffic incidents, one of the #Fatal4, is inappropriate speed. Therefore, along with a reduction in limits, additional enforcement is also promised.
Whilst still feeling the need to apologise, Pere Navarro suggested increasing the number of radars for speed control. “Sorry, but it is the only way we have,” he said, before comparing the 7,200 devices in the United Kingdom and 4,000 in France, with just 1,000 in Spain. He already promised this action upon resuming his duties at the DGT, “if we want to advance in road safety we have to increase the number of radars”.
Such increases require investment of course, which is one of the benefits of those already caught, who may not be aware that such devices as radars are self funding, with money raised through fines in Spain being invested in such devices and other road safety initiatives.
As for the quantity, as Pere Navarro used France as an example, to match the number of radars per capita, Spain would need over a thousand more radars, to being the total up to 2,800. Using the UK as a comparison, Spain would have to increase the number of radars to 5,200.
The country with the highest rate of radars per million inhabitants is Belgium with 206, Finland with 169 and Sweden with 135. Currently, Spain with just 19 per million inhabitants is way down that list, although the figure doesn’t include the mobile units operated by the DGT and local and regional police.