The DGT launched a special awareness campaign on Monday, aimed at alerting drivers to the dangers of having consumed alcohol or drugs before driving.
As part of the campaign, every day this week, including the weekend, the Guardia Civil Trafico will be conducting 20,000 tests on drivers, to ensure that they are safe behind the wheel.
The campaign coincides with the annual Christmas party week, when many office workers celebrate the festive season, some forgetting the dangers of having consumed alcohol or drugs, and taking to the road as a driver.
The campaign runs in conjunction with TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Organisation, and will see 25 countries across Europe enforcing the law through their own means.
In Spain, the campaign will also be supported by the local and regional police, many of whom will also be out carrying out enforcement checks with equipment provided by the DGT.
According to the Director General of Traffic, Pere Navarro, “the objective of this type of campaign is to make citizens aware that it´s not only alcohol that is incompatible with driving , but other drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, are psychoactive substances that have effects, in many cases lethal, when driving”.
In addition, he added that “the realisation of these preventive controls on the road is along with road safety education, one of the most effective instruments to dissuade the driver from getting behind the wheel if they have consumed any psychoactive substance.”
According to data from the DGT, in 2017 26% of the deceased drivers gave positive results in the tests of alcohol, and of these, 74% presented a rate higher than three times the maximum rate allowed, that is according to the post-mortem data from the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, as well as by the Institutes of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Murcia and Galicia,
Although data regarding drug use is relatively young, in terms of the number of years it has been collated, it is now clear that, according to the known data, more than 10% of all drivers have consumed more than the maximum permitted amounts of some form of illegal drug.
Drug use is taken very seriously by the DGT, which is why the penalties are so severe, in line with the penalties for habitual drinkers, or those with dangerously excessive levels of alcohol.
The presence of drugs that can affect driving is punished by a 1,000 euro fine and 6 points, however, it soon becomes a criminal matter rather than an administrative one when, “Driving under the influence of toxic drugs, narcotics or psychotropic substances”, can be punished by, “Prison of three to six months or a fine of six to twelve months or work for the benefit of the community from 30 to 90 days, and deprivation of the right to drive from one to four years.”