During the Easter weekend´s special traffic operation, 29 people lost their lives in as many incidents on the main road network of Spain.
Although this figure represents a decrease of 12 deaths compared to last year, it is still 29 too many people who have lost their lives.
The Director General of the DGT, Gregorio Serrano, expressed his “gratitude” to the DGT employees, officers of the Guardia Civil, the specialist technical and other operators of companies and the emergency services who worked during the special operation, which ran from Friday the 7th of April through to Monday of this week, as “their work and dedication has contributed to reducing the victims caused by traffic accidents.”
Serrano also thanked road users for their predominantly responsible behaviour during the period, an action that has undoubtedly contributed to the reduction of deaths due to traffic accidents. Despite this decline, Gregorio Serrano has stated that we cannot be complacent, and even if there is only one death on the roads, that too is too many.
During these ten and a half day period, there were 15.2 million long-distance displacements, 7.2% more than during the 2016 Easter holiday, which amounted to 14.2 million. It is the fourth consecutive year that road movements increase in this holiday period, standing at levels very similar to those recorded in Easter, 2008.
There was an increase in the number of fatal incidents than last year, but the number of deaths has been lower, 29 compared to 41, although we must take into account a fatal bus crash last year in Tarragona, in which 13 people were killed.
By area, Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla la Mancha, Castile y Leon and La Rioja all saw an increase in the number of incidents, whereas no deaths were recorded in the Canary Islands, Murcia and Navarre.
As for the type of roads, 26 people were killed on conventional roads, compared to 3 people losing their lives on motorways or highways.
The highest number of fatalities recorded by incident type was in vehicles leaving the road, with 13 people losing their lives this way, followed by head-on collisions, responsible for 5 deaths, the same as last year, and 2 people knocked over.
When we look at the vehicle type, we see that 14 people died in passenger cars, the same as last year, 7 were on motorbikes, an increase over last year, as was the case with cyclists, with 4 people being killed, 3 more than last year, although pedestrian fatalities were halved.
The majority of deaths occurred during the day, between 07:00 and 20:00, when 23 people were killed, compared to 6 who died overnight.
The age group where the majority of people died is those between 45 to 54, with 7 deaths, followed by the 55 to 64-year-old age group, with 6 deaths, and 5 deaths from the aged 35 to 44 group. During this period, nobody under the age of 14, or over 75, have lost their lives.
As we delve deeper into the incidents, we find that of the 16 deaths in passenger cars, 6 of those killed were not wearing a seatbelt. In addition, 1 of the cyclists who died was not wearing a helmet.
The tragic reality is that if we discount last year´s bus crash from the statistics, the figures are comparable, despite a widely publicised awareness campaign and an increase in surveillance. It is clear that the death toll could have been lower if seatbelts and safety devices are used, distractions are avoided, as with alcohol and drugs, and we all learn from the lessons that each of us has a responsibility on the road to zero fatalities.