All of this week, a special campaign to check commercial vehicles is taking place on the roads of Spain, with the Guardia Civil and local police collaborating to check safety factors relating to the operation of trucks and vans.
The campaign, which runs through until the 21st of February, will focus on such elements as driving hours, tachographs, vehicle weight and cargo security, and technical defects.
Whilst carrying out the vehicle checks the officers will also check the correct documentation of both the vehicle and the driver, whilst also monitoring for three of the main factors in road traffic collisions, the use of alcohol and drugs, distractions (such as using a mobile phone), and inappropriate speed. Finally, the officers will also monitor that the correct use of seat belts is adhered to at all times.
Trucks and vans are the second most numerous vehicle traveling on the road, and with their increase in weight, can be a dangerous combination if not operated in a safe manner. In fact, trucks and vans are involved in 16% of all injury incidents and, according to the latest data from the DGT, were the type of vehicle resulting in 127 deaths last year, 68 travelling in vans, 59 in trucks. Aside from the deaths of vehicle occupants, vans and trucks were also involved in more than 500 injury incidents on urban and intercity roads.
The reason for this focus becomes clear when the data shows such facts as distractions being a contributing factor in a third of all incidents last year. Almost a third of the people killed in vans and trucks were not wearing a seatbelt, and the age of the fleet, on average, is 12 years, which makes the vehicle components susceptible to failure.