“Knowing is starting to avoid it”: the slogan of the DGT’s new summer awareness campaign

Jun 28, 2022 | Post, Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Just a few days before the start of July and the summer holidays for thousands of citizens, the Directorate General of Traffic is launching a new awareness campaign to avoid accidents on the road.

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This year, and for the first time in the history of the Agency, the campaign has focused on road accidents on interurban roads, a fatal road accident of which there is little awareness and knowledge as it is mostly confined to the family or personal sphere. This situation changes when the person hit by a car is a well-known or famous person, in which case the social repercussions are greater.

“Knowing about it means starting to avoid it” is the slogan chosen to draw attention to this type of road accident and, to be aware of this, Traffic has turned to two public figures, known to all; the singer and composer Amaia Romero and the actor Eduard Fernández. Both explain some of the reasons why more than 100 people are killed every year in Spain, some of them because they are not wearing reflective elements, others due to driver recklessness, crossing in the wrong places or simply working on the road… all situations which, more often than you might think, can lead to fatal accidents.

One of the reasons that have led the DGT to focus the summer campaign on road traffic accidents is the high number of this type of fatal accident. Last year, 110 people were killed in road traffic accidents, i.e. 10% of the total number of fatalities. If only the summer period is taken into account, last summer, 23 fatalities were recorded, 2 less than in the summer of 2020 when attention was already drawn to this issue at the beginning of the summer and 9 more than in the summer of 2019.

In order for the campaign to reach the greatest possible number of citizens, two television adverts have been created, two radio spots that can be heard on the main radio stations in the country, several graphics for print media and different pieces for digital media and social networks, including making off of how the adverts were produced by the protagonists. In addition, the campaign can also be seen this summer in cinema circuits and outdoors in advertising elements in the cities.

More trips, but of a shorter duration
So far this year, long-distance journeys are above 2019 levels. Taking this trend into account, the DGT estimates that 93 million long-distance journeys will be made in July and August, 2.4% more than the actual number of journeys made last summer, with a significant increase in weekend and short-distance journeys. During the month of July, 44 of the 93 million journeys are expected to take place.

In order to deal with the expected flow of movements and to ensure that they are carried out smoothly and safely, the Directorate General of Traffic has established four special operations for this summer:

1st Summer Departure Operation: from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 July.
1st August departure: from Friday 29 July to Monday 1 August.
Special operation 15 August: from Friday 12 to Monday 15 August.
Return operation: Friday 26 to Sunday 28 August.
It should be borne in mind that Spain is a transit country for millions of citizens from other European countries, who are returning to their countries of origin in Africa and who opt for private vehicles to make their journeys. To this end, the government has set up a special Strait Crossing mechanism that has been in operation since 15 June. More than 700,000 car journeys by road are expected to cross the peninsula, taking an average of 15 hours to complete (Junquera-Algeciras and Irún-Algeciras).

Concern over the increase in deaths on high-capacity roads
The challenge this summer is to ensure that the increase in the number of expected journeys is not reflected in the number of road accidents. In summer 2021, 189 people died, 202 in summer 2020 and 215 in summer 2019, a huge improvement on ten years ago, when 324 people died in summer 2011.

However, there is a concern in the DGT that fatalities on high-capacity roads are on the rise this year. Specifically, so far this year, deaths on motorways and highways have risen by 35% compared to the figures for 2019, just the opposite of what is happening on conventional roads, traditionally the most dangerous, where the accident rate has fallen by 1% in the same period. Run-off-roads and collisions are the types of accidents that have increased the most.

In order to try to mitigate speeding, which is usually caused by excessive speed or distraction, Traffic will increase surveillance of this factor on motorways and dual carriageways with mobile radars on board both marked and camouflaged cars of the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard. In addition, during the first week of July, a campaign will be carried out in which speed controls will be intensified on all types of roads and at any time.

For distractions, Traffic has installed 29 new cameras to monitor the use of mobile phones and seat belts, bringing the total to 245.

Summer with new rules in the Traffic Law
On 21 March the new Traffic Law came into force, with important modifications. Among the most important are the following:

Mobile phones: 6 points are deducted for using mobile phone devices while driving. Since 2016, distractions at the wheel have been the leading cause of fatal accidents.
Seat belts and protective elements. 4 points are deducted for not using, or not using properly, seat belts, child restraint systems, helmets and other mandatory protective equipment. 1 in 4 people killed in traffic accidents still does not wear a seat belt.
Speed: Elimination of the possibility for cars and motorbikes to exceed the speed limit by 20 km/h on conventional roads when overtaking other vehicles.
Alcohol. Under-age drivers driving any vehicle may not drive with a blood or breath alcohol level of more than 0.0. This offence remains unchanged and is still classified as a very serious offence.
Cyclists. It is compulsory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to change lanes completely when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, 6 points must be deducted when overtaking cyclists without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5m. It is also forbidden to stop or park on cycle lanes or cycle paths.
Recovery of licence points. After 2 years without committing offences that deduct points, the driver recovers his or her initial points balance.
The General Directorate of Traffic reminds us that we all want to go out, to travel and to enjoy life… we cannot spoil it on the road. It is not worth the risk, there are no excuses because road safety is everyone’s responsibility.