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Friday, August 1, 2008


It’s the first day of August and the start of the ‘salida de agosto’ when the majority of Spaniards take to the roads and head off on holiday. Sadly too many of them will make the return journey courtesy of the undertaker.
I do not have the stats for the number killed on Spain’s roads each year but it is a horrendous figure. I’d guess around 3,000 with some 25 to 30 killed on a long holiday weekend. Many more are injured and the toll on those left behind can only be imagined.

A recent EU survey showed that Spain led the table of member states where drinking was the prime cause of a death crash. The fact is that it is speed that causes the majority of road deaths regardless of the state of the driver.

I tend to drive in towns and villages at the required speed. On the open road I drive at around 100 kms an hour. This is far too slow for other road users except old ladies, men in hats and those sad people who drive contraptions that don’t require a licence and are powered by elastic bands. The others zoom past me regardless of whether overtaking is allowed or not.

The government is now thinking of introducing a reduced speed limit on Spain’s roads. This is not an attempt to end the carnage but rather to save fuel as part of a package of measures to tackle the economic and fuel crisis.

It appears that there is an optimum speed at which a car should travel in order to maximize the economy of fuel use. Discussions will now be held on setting that limit and how it should be introduced.

Sorry but in a nation where driving at 100kms per hour is considered to be dawdling there is no chance that motorists are suddenly going to trundle along at 50 or 70 km per hour.

As drivers can get away with speeding now with very little chance of being apprehended what chance that they are going to change their ways to save the economy? Zero!

This measure is putting the cart before the horse or speeding car. First we have to stop a nation driving like maniacs in order to save lives. Then we can worry about the economy.

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