Drivers to be fined in Spain if they tip off check points on social media

Drivers to be fined in Spain if they tip off check points on social media

Spain's DGT Seeks to Fine Drivers Warning of Alcohol and Drug Checkpoints on Social Media

The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) in Spain is looking to impose fines on drivers who use social media and messaging apps to alert others about the locations of alcohol and drug checkpoints. This practice, deemed "uncivic" by authorities, is seen as contributing to road accidents, with alcohol being the second leading cause of deaths on Spanish roads.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has directed the DGT to find ways to incorporate a ban on such warnings into legislation. This move follows the example of countries like Switzerland and France, which have already regulated and included similar measures in their sanctioning rules.

During a press conference at the DGT headquarters unveiling the summer campaign, Minister Marlaska condemned the practice as "selfish and uncivil." He emphasized that such warnings could allow intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and potentially cause serious accidents, endangering innocent lives. He stressed that this undermines the core policy against drink-driving, which is crucial for road safety and saving lives.

The summer campaign against road accidents focuses heavily on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. "These substances have been and continue to be major problems for road safety both in our country and throughout Europe," Marlaska noted. The campaign underscores the risks of driving under the influence, with the slogan: "The road doesn't care how much you've had to drink. Only zero has zero consequences," appealing to the personal responsibility of each driver.

"We want to show the real and personal consequences of prohibited driving behaviors that disregard community safety. Road safety is a personal decision, a conscious choice that must be made every time you drive," the minister stated.

Alcohol remains the second leading cause of fatal accidents in Spain, responsible for 29% of road fatalities, just behind distractions at 31% and ahead of speeding at 23%.

Campaign Outreach

To maximize reach, the campaign includes a TV ad, four radio spots, print media graphics, and digital content for social media. The audiovisual piece depicts a typical meal among friends, where one, Pablo, drunkenly decides to leave. Another friend, who has stopped drinking earlier, offers to drive him home. Their journey ends in a collision with a car carrying a family driving safely, illustrating the commonality and potential tragedy of such incidents.

Rising Fatalities

So far this year, up to April 23, 507 people have died in road accidents, a 6% increase compared to the same period last year. The rise in fatalities is particularly noticeable on motorways and dual carriageways, with 29 more deaths, while other roads saw stable numbers. Car fatalities increased by 24, and weekday fatalities rose by 22.

These figures pose a significant challenge for the summer months of July and August, which see the highest number of road journeys. Last summer, 238 people lost their lives in road accidents, and 959 were seriously injured.

The DGT is focusing on motorcycle safety, as motorcycles account for 3% of traffic but 25% of fatalities. Additionally, the campaign addresses run-off-road incidents, responsible for 42% of fatal accidents; road collisions, which cause 11% of traffic accidents; and issues related to alcohol, drugs, and speeding. These factors, along with distractions, remain the primary causes of traffic accidents.

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