Last year 19 people lost their lives on the road network in Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol. Not forgetting the human tragedy behind this figure, there is good news in that the number is a record low. This is the lowest number of people killed on the roads linking towns and villages ever recorded in a year in Malaga province. The data excludes deaths on local roads in urban areas.
The data has been complied by Sur and confirmed by different sources, although it may vary a bit from the DGT national traffic agency's figures as that body also includes in its count victims who die in hospital within 30 days after a serious accident.
Whatever the method, the figure of 19 deaths in Malaga at the end of the year is an about-turn on the upward trend of the last three years which was causing concern at both the national and local level.
In 2017 there were 41 fatalities, meaning the figures have gone down by more than half, (53 per cent), over the last 12 months.
Increase in journeys
The 2018 statistic stands out even more if we take a look back. Scarcely twenty years ago, the provincial road chiefs set out to reduce, or at least contain, the number of deaths on the roads at 100 per year. The increase in the number of cars and the extent of the main road network, as tourism increased, had seen the number of car journeys soaring along the Costa del Sol.
Once it was realised that reaching zero deaths wasn't such an impossible dream, the authorities later introduced a range of measures to lower the accident rate further: toughening up fines and criminal sentences; a licence points system; a network of fixed and mobile speed cameras; alcohol and drugs checkpoints; increasingly shocking publicity campaigns, and recently, lowering speed limits on single carriageway main roads. The experts cite other factors behind the decrease, such as the improvement in the quality of the roads and, above all, an improvement in car technology.
After years of decline, official road deaths on Spain's roads have increased in the last four years. Ahead of any official announcement on 2018 figures nationally, in 2017 Spain saw 39 deaths per million of population (a total of 1,830 fatalities), below the European average of 50.