Spain gets tougher on alcohol controls

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INCREASED ALCOHOL testing on Saturday and Sunday mornings is to be introduced on Spanish roads following a string of tragic accidents involving cyclists and drunk drivers in recent weeks.

Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has announced the tougher measures to protect cyclists following three serious accidents in the last two weeks involving drunk drivers that killed three riders and left 11 others injured.

The body responsible for road safety in the country, unveiled a plan earlier this week , that will see increased roadside controls for alcohol and drugs at the times when large numbers of cyclists are out and about particularly at weekends.

Spain’s Interior Ministry announced plans for an additional 130,000 alcohol and drug checks on drivers at these times and that tougher sanctions will be applied to drivers found over the legal limit.

Among these will be complete driving bans for anybody found to be over the limit for a second time in two years.

Once those bans have been served, the driver will have to undergo psychological and physical assessment before being allowed back on the roads.

“The DGT and the ministry are concerned about cyclists,” said Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, reiterating that more than 400 cyclists have died on Spain’s roads in the last decade.

In the last seven years, the number of accidents involving cars and bikes has doubled on both urban and non-urban roads.

Academics and experts on road safety say that Spain’s infrastructure has failed to keep up with the growing numbers of cyclists now out and about, and that awareness campaigns are required, both for drivers and bike users.

A startling survey released recently, suggests that more than a third of cyclists do not know the rules of the road.

The DGT says it will also be monitoring Spain’s roads with a special emphasis on cyclists.

This will be done using helicopters and unmarked cars, while at the same time, the authority will run awareness campaigns, as well as putting together more detailed figures on accidents involving cyclists.

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