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Cameras detecting seatbelt and mobile phone use to go up across Spain
TRAFFIC authorities have set up hidden cameras to detect whether drivers and passengers are wearing seatbelts.
They will be installed in 70 different parts of Spain, mostly on B-roads, and 19 of them will be in the region of Andalucía.
According to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), the cameras are capable of taking up to 50 pictures a second and, if they find anyone travelling in a car without a seatbelt, will immediately send the photos to road authorities so they can process a fine notice.
They will also be able to tell whether drivers are using a mobile phone, and as the cameras do not need external power supplies or internet connection, they can even be fitted in very remote areas.
Last year alone, 1,126 drivers and passengers died on inter-city roads and another 254 on urban streets – in cars, vans, lorries and on motorbikes or mopeds.
Of these, 175 were not wearing a seatbelt or, in the case of bikes, a helmet.
The southern region of Andalucía saw the worst figures of all, with 172 killed on roads between towns and cities, of whom 91 were drivers in cars or vans.
As many as a third were not wearing a seatbelt.
DGT bosses say a high number of deaths and serious injuries could have been prevented by belting up, which reduces the risk of fatality in a crash by 50%.
In just one week in October, during a crackdown campaign across the country, a total of 1,349 drivers were not wearing a seatbelt and 57 motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet, whilst a further 1,113 were fined for using a mobile phone at the wheel.
The death rate has gone down, despite the number of car journeys increasing, and many fatal accidents are said to be caused by lack of concentration.
Drug-driving and drink-driving also play a major part, says the DGT, which intends to intensify its spot-checks this year.
Last year, a total of 68,959 drivers were required to give a saliva sample to test for drugs.
Of these, a third – or 22,451 – were found to have been taking illegal substances, mostly cannabis and cocaine.
Over the course of 2016, at least 120,000 checks are expected to be carried out on secondary roads across the country – 38% more than in 2015 – except in Catalunya and the Basque Country which are covered by their own, separate traffic authorities.
Again, Andalucía was the worst region for drug-driving, with 16,756 tests resulting in 7,017 people being caught, or 41.9%.
The last drink-driving clampdown campaign was carried out across the country the week before Christmas, as is usually the case.
Out of 152,795 drivers breathalysed, just over 1%, or 1,758 were found to be over the limit, with Andalucía showing the poorest results yet again.
Here, a total of 911,125 drivers were breathalysed over the course of the year, of whom 2.4%, or 22,020, were over the limit.
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