Calls for more roadside checks as drink and drug convictions in Spain soar

THERE has been a 10 per cent rise in convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in just one year.

According to figures from Spain’s Attorney General’s Office there were 56,173 convictions for the offences in 2018, compared with 51,085 in 2017.

This was 21 per cent of all convictions for any kind of crime. Highlighting the danger of the offence is the fact that more than 40 per cent of drivers who died in traffic accidents on Spanish roads had consumed alcohol or drugs.

Pere Navarro, head of the DGT national traffic authority, is now planning to bring in more roadside checks rather than bring in harsher penalties. Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Pais he said: “It’s not clear to me that the solution lies in higher penalties. At some point we might have to do it, but we don’t support it.”

The number of roadside checks carried out has declined markedly after deep cuts in public spending. In 2013 Guardia Civil tested 6.4 million drivers for alcohol. By 2017 this number had fallen to 5.18 million.

Last year, a total of 89,264 people were convicted of all driving offenses, an 8.9 per cent rise over 2017.  Road fatalities on the other hand fell to 1,180 last year, compared with 1,198 in 2017.

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Written by

Dilip Kuner

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