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Spanish government implements new measures to improve safety on roads 

The Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz has recently announced that they will be introducing a new seven point action plan across Spain which they hope will help significantly in the reduction of the number of casualties on roads. To this end 7.2 million euros of funding has been set aside in order to implement this plan and was announced at recent 20th anniversary celebrations of the Guardia Civil Traffic School in the mainland. The minister has praised the work done by the Guardia Civil Traffic Police who he stated provide dedication to road safety policies of the Government through the DGT. Having taken into account road fatalities and fatal incidents so far this year, this was fundamental. There will be three specific areas targeted, these being conventional roads, motorcycles and vans.

Last year the vast amount of people who lost their lives were on conventional roads in head on collisions. With motorbikes, deaths have also increased and this measure is aimed at achieving better behaviour from bikers, and one hopes this too will include cyclists, and improving the coexistence of other road users. With regards to vans there has also been a substantial increase in fatal incidents and this too needs to be addressed.

The seven point plan is as follows:

1. The installations of Rumble Strips.

A lot of motorways and some conventional roads already have these but a further 3000 kilometres of roads will have them installed on both the hard shoulders and central lane markings to assist in the avoidance of said vehicles colliding, often head on, with those travelling in the opposite direction. There are many blackspots in Spain and indeed in the Canary Islands too.

2. Limiting of overtaking on certain conventional roads.

As we are all most probably aware overtaking is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres that are carried out on an open road, certainly in Tenerife there are many of those that come to mind instantly. This will be restricted in more areas. This will be done by the widening of the solid white lines (where possible) and new marked solid white lines again where possible. It has been estimated that will make a reduction in the amount of deaths on the roads due to this type of driving. In 2015 through Spain in total 217 people died in head on collisions so anything that can be done to decrease that is imperative.

3. Treatment of dangerous intersections

Junctions, especially some here in Tenerife, are some of the most dangerous of areas on a road network. Of course they are necessary as vehicles cross and interact with vehicle that are already moving, which is always a risk, perhaps more so in tourist areas or resorts as strangers to the area are not familiar with the road layouts. Part of this plan is to install warning signs on the approach to such key junctions, especially where visibility is impaired by other signs, built up junctions or those with bushes or trees. This project is also expected to save approximately 20 lives per year.

4. Pedestrian Crossing Signals

Illuminated warning signs will be installed on pedestrian crossings making drivers easily aware of them. They will be the standard type with orange warning lights.

5. Monitoring and control of excesses of speed at night and delivery vans

The idea behind this is to continue with the current campaigns on a monthly basis and to increase this at night and on routes frequented by such vehicles. This will see these drivers being stopped and their occupants identified whilst also testing the driver for alcohol and/or drug use, correct documentation including current ITV and current insurance.

6. Monitoring of speed and safe distance between vehicles on Motorways

In addition to travelling at excess speeds, maintaining a safe distance will be focused upon, not only by roadside patrols but helicopters will also be used for this, as will information notices warning of safe distances. These signs are numerous in the UK. The number of people killed last year due to another driver being too close was 54 an increase from the previous year.

7. Motorcycles

The final point is that motorcycles will be given more attention by both the police at road side checks and at the ITV stations to ensure the insurance and other documents are in order. Police will of course be monitoring the speed of bikes and those involved in dangerous manoeuvres.