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Hidden cameras check seatbelt use on motorways
thinkSPAIN , Monday, March 14, 2016

A NATIONWIDE campaign checking for seatbelts and child retention systems will run until this Sunday inclusive on Spain's main motorways.

The cameras are a new addition to the general traffic authorities, and will be piloted on the A-1, A-2, and the A-3 Madrid-Valencia road which includes the stretch between the A-7 Mediterranean motorway and Valencia airport.

The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) says if everyone wore a seatbelt and children were in the proper types of seats or harnesses for their age and size, over 200 deaths on the road could be prevented every year.

According to the most recent complete statistics in the DGT's possession – from the year 2014 – a total of 194 of the 822 people who perished in road crashes were not wearing a seatbelt, representing 24%, or nearly a quarter.

And in all cases, accident reports showed that the 194 killed would still be alive today if they had put their seatbelts on.

Belting up is less automatic on minor roads, says the DGT, particularly around town, but urban roads fall within the jurisdiction of Local Police officers, who answer to the town council.

To this end, national traffic authorities are urging local councils to get their police forces on board and run seatbelt-wearing campaigns nearer home.

Over the rest of this year, the DGT plans to install 270 cameras capable of detecting whether drivers and passengers are wearing belts, and six in 10 of these will be on main roads.

Trial runs of the cameras found only 2% of drivers were not wearing seatbelts, although offenders tend to be back-seat passengers, says the DGT – in fact, one in 10 people do not bother.

On motorways, 96% of drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, and 93% do so on major highways, but in towns and cities with fewer than half a million inhabitants one in 10 does not do so – rising to 16% in large and medium-sized towns failing to belt up and between two and three in 10 in smaller locations of 60,000 inhabitants or fewer.

The DGT reveals that in 2014, out of the 14 children aged 12 and under who lost their lives in road crashes, two of them had not been wearing a seatbelt or other legally-required child restraint system, and would still be alive today if they had.

In the same age group, nine of the 82 children seriously injured in crashes and 107 of the 2,724 who sustained minor injuries were not belted up, and they could have avoided their suffering if they had been correctly strapped in.

Traffic authorities urge adults travelling with children to make sure seatbelts, harnesses or safety seats, as applicable, are used at all times, since this relatively simple action could make the difference between the child being killed or escaping relatively unscathed.

Images caught on camera of drivers, passengers or children without seatbelts or harnesses will be sent to a central office in León for checking, and the adult offender will get a fine notice through the post.



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