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Traffic police clamp down on mobile 'phone use
ThinkSpain , Friday, March 23, 2012

A total of 8,711 drivers have been fined for using mobile phones while driving during a two-week campaign against distractions while driving.

Over the two weeks, officials from the Guardia Civil Traffic Department checked nearly 855,000 vehicles and fined 10,889 drivers for carrying allowing themselves to be distracted whilst driving.

Various studies have shown that mobile 'phone use quadruples the risk of accidents and that the risk incurred by a person talking on the 'phone whilst driving is comparable to drunk driving.

As well as monitoring the misuse of mobile 'phones while driving, police were also on the look-out for drivers using their SatNav systems whilst at the wheel - a distraction they say is comparable to speaking on the 'phone. 123 drivers were fined for adjusting their SatNavs whilst driving.

At the beginning of the campaign, drivers were also warned that in addition to the use of mobile phones and SatNav equipment, police would also be on the look-out for people using headphones connected iPods or other music equipment.  416 people in total were fined for using these devices whilst driving.

25% of drivers who were stopped by the police during the campaign were talking on the 'phone using a 'hands free' device, but were still found to have been distracted.  The DGT is keen to point out that although legal, using a 'hands-free' device to talk on the 'phone still constitutes a distraction.

Distractions are a major cause of road accidents in Spain. In fact, in the year to date there have been 244 fatal accidents on Spain's roads, and 'distractions' at the wheel were cited in 93 of them, causing 99 deaths (38% of the total).

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