The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, during an appearance at the DGT. R. C.
Drivers who warn of breathalyser checkpoints on social media in Spain to be prosecuted

Drivers who warn of breathalyser checkpoints on social media in Spain to be prosecuted

Minister Grande-Marlaska launches the summer campaign focusing on alcohol and drug consumption, "one of the main problems for road safety"

José Antonio Guerrero


Friday, 28 June 2024, 14:36

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The General-Directorate of Traffic (DGT) wants to fine drivers who warn others of the location of alcohol and drug checkpoints through social media and messaging applications. It considers that this "uncivic" practice is another way of encouraging road accidents, with alcohol the second-highest cause of deaths on Spanish roads.

For now, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has instructed the DGT to explore ways to incorporate a ban on such warnings into legislation, following the example of countries like Switzerland and France, which have already regulated and included it in their sanctioning rules.

During a press conference held this Wednesday at the headquarters of the DGT to unveil the summer campaign, the minister took the opportunity to condemn what he described as "a selfish and uncivil practice."

Marlaska believes that such warnings made by "some" drivers "could allow an intoxicated driver to evade checkpoints and cause a serious accident elsewhere, affecting innocent citizens". He further stated that this undermines "the core of the policy against drink-driving, which is a fundamental element of road safety because it saves lives".

This summer's awareness campaign against road accidents is very much focused on the effects of alcohol and drug use at the wheel. "They have been and continue to be one of the main problems for road safety both in our country and throughout Europe." That is why the new campaign will insist on the risks of driving under the influence of these substances.

The DGT's messages stress the idea that road safety is a personal decision, a conscious choice that every driver has to make in order to comply with the rules and avoid road accidents. The slogan chosen is 'The road doesn't care how much you've had to drink. Only zero has zero consequences', appealing to the responsibility of each driver.

"We want to show the real and personal consequences of prohibited driving behaviours which shows a diregard for the community. We try to emphasise that road safety is a personal decision, that respecting safety rules is a conscious choice that must be made every time you drive," the minister said.

One of the reasons that has led the DGT to focus the campaign on this specific message is that alcohol is still the second cause of fatal accidents in Spain, accounting for 29% of fatalities, behind only distractions at 31%, and ahead of speed, at 23%.

Typical meal with friends

In order for the campaign to reach as many citizens as possible, a TV ad, four radio spots, a print media graphic and different pieces for digital media and social networks have been created.

The audiovisual piece depicts a typical meal and after-dinner conversation among friends where one of them, Pablo, in a state of drunkenness, decides that it is time to leave. Another friend, noticing his drunken state, offers to drive him home in his car since he stopped drinking earlier. They both get into the car and begin their journey back, which ends in a collision with another car carrying a family who were driving safely. It's a very common accident that no one is immune to.

6% more deaths

So far this year, up to Sunday 23 April, 507 people died in road accidents, which is 6% more than in the same period last year (27 more deaths).

The increase in fatalities was concentrated on motorways and dual carriageways, with 29 more fatalities, while on other types of roads the number remained stable. There was also an increase in fatalities in cars, with 24 more fatalities, and on working days (22 more fatalities).

These figures, although better than those of the first quarter, are a challenge in view of the months of July and August, when the highest number of road journeys are made. Last summer 238 people lost their lives in road accidents and 959 were seriously injured.

The DGT is focusing on motorcycles during these two months, as they constitute 3% of traffic but account for 25% of fatalities. They are also addressing run-off-road incidents, which cause 42% of fatal accidents; road collisions, responsible for 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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