The Directorate General of Traffic in Spain, the DGT, has announced that their next awareness campaign for road safety will focus on the over 65 years of age group.

In 2012, a total of 27% of all road deaths were over the age of 65, to which the director general of traffic, María Seguí, said, “It seems clear that we must work specifically on this issue”, as well as in conjunction with other campaigns.

Despite the proportion of fatalities in the over 65 group, they are also the only sector which is increasing in road deaths, whilst all others are showing a decline. In 2001, a total of 16% of all road fatalities were in the group, which shows how the figure has increased significantly over the last decade or so.

Every year on the roads of Spain, around 500 people over the age of 65 will lose their life; a figure which is almost four times higher that of the rest of the population.

The biggest single situation in which these fatalities occur is when emerging from a junction and turning left, thus crossing both directions of traffic, although the small size of some of the road signs has also been named as a contributing factor, as well as lighting and general poor visibility. Crossings are also particularly dangerous it would seem, as is the general visibility and observation of vulnerable road users.

A handbook is being produced which aims to advise town halls and others responsible for town planning of the need for an improved technical approach for road junction markings, as well as implementing various new and improved road marking initiatives, especially in areas most likely used by the older generation, such as crossings near health centres and hospitals, after a recent survey revealed that 13% of older people do not feel safe on the traditional black and white zebra crossings.

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