The Ministry of the Interior has counted the coffins and cremation urns and tells us that 2,181 people died on Spain’s roads last year. That is 560 or 20.4 per cent less deaths than in 2007.
The average number of deaths a day was seven. In 2008, when there were 1,929 accidents, 866 people were seriously injured, some may have subsequently died, be now the living dead or made full recoveries. Another 938 received light injuries.
The slapping sound you can hear is the minister and the traffic authorities congratulating themselves on their mutual shoulders. They say the reduction is due to the 2005-2008 Strategic Plan that aimed at a 40 per cent reduction over that period, a tougher policing regime and the docking of points on driving licences.
So do you feel safer on the road today? I don’t! I might add that I drive in Andalucía which in 2008 was the only region in Spain to record an increase in road deaths.
I recently drove on the Ronda to San Pedro road. En route you pass old road death commemoration crosses and fresh flowers. Several cars flew past me and given an inch here or there a near miss could have been a fatal crash. On a recent quite day I found an overtaking car bearing down on me on my side of the road as it overtook another vehicle on a blind bend – and we were the only three vehicles within sight.
I am pleased the numbers are down. I hope that the downward trend continues, nay accelerates. However I am alive and uninjured today thanks to luck and not the driving of my fellow motorists.
Make no mistake, there – but for the grace of God – go you and I.