Spain's Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) has said the heatwaves in July could be to blame for the increase in fatalities on the roads that month, because heat reduces drivers’ attention and ability to react. There were 131 fatalities, 12% more than in the same month in 2019.
“Heat is a factor which affects us. We make mistakes in the heat, and mistakes on the road, when driving, result in accidents,” said the general director of the DGT, Pere Navarro, in a TV interview.
There were 14 more deaths on the roads in July compared with the same month in 2019, the year prior to the pandemic, and the number of journeys increased by 5%.
“There were 2,124 deaths because of the heatwave and 131 in traffic accidents. I believe the figures speak for themselves,” Navarro said.
With regard to the new Traffic and Road Safety law which came into force in March, he insisted that the message is simple and clear. “If there is a speed limit, there is a speed limit,” he said.
When asked about prevention campaigns, Navarro said they have to be accompanied by measures if they are to be effective in the long term, otherwise the effects wear off over the following six months.
“People say our campaigns are harsh, but the reality is much harsher. Sometimes you have to make people think about the drama behind traffic accidents,” he said.
He also stressed that people need to be very careful if their vehicle breaks down and they need to get out on dual carriageways and motorways, because in the past three years 40 people have been killed after being hit by other vehicles. “Don’t get out on the side where the traffic is passing,” he stressed.
With many places about to celebrate their annual fairs, Pere Navarro also reminded people to behave responsibly. Nobody can be allowed to drink and drive, he said.