By Easter, road users in Spain will be more protected than ever, as an additional 200 smart cameras are activated around the country, looking for those using a mobile phone or other electronic device whilst driving, and those not wearing a seatbelt.
It was in January of this year that the Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, announced before the Traffic Safety Commission of the Congress of Deputies, that the Traffic Directorate was to monitor the use of the seatbelts by installing these cameras.
The initiative is part of a plan by the DGT to reduce the number of incidents on the roads of the country, after data for 2016 revealed that the figures had risen for the first time in 13 years after a steady decline.
At that time, the Interior Minister stated that the location of these cameras would be made available to the public through the DGT website. Now, the opinion is once again changing to suggest that not making their whereabouts known would increase the number of offences recorded, and therefore would lead to more results by education through enforcement. Therefore, although the locations will be revealed publically, the exact location will be approximate, thus, hopefully, giving a wider coverage of vigilance where drivers act more responsibly over a larger distance.
The new equipment, may well also appear at locations where drivers may have become used to seeing none-enforcement cameras operating, and in other locations which have been protected by nothing more than warnings in the past, as the DGT becomes more aggressive in trying to clamp down on dangerous practices, as so many drivers themselves have failed to take action to reduce the risks themselves.
The more modern cameras take a series of images, several per second, from 500 metres away, which covers all occupants in the vehicle, automatically detecting infractions, such as the driver using a mobile phone or other device, and if all the occupants are wearing seatbelts or child restraints, in the case of children being carried.
The cameras are similar to those of speed controls but the system files seven evidential images which are then analysed by a computer. If the computer considers that an infringement is being committed, the penalty will ultimately be imposed following a human check of the images.
During the initial testing phase of these new cameras, if the cameras detect an infraction then the offender will be informed, by means of a letter, of the obligation to comply with road safety regulations. In the communication, the owner of the vehicle must identify the driver, in a process similar to that carried out with the fines.
This test phase for the new cameras will last only a short time as the DGT intends to start the official process of issuing fines in time for the Easter operations on the roads, one of the busiest times of the year.
By then, if you’re caught by a camera, the vehicle owner will automatically receive a 200 euro fine and will also entail the loss of three points.