- The number of people seriously injured reduced by 336 people
- Distractions, inappropriate speed, tiredness or lack of sleep, and alcohol and drugs are the main contributing factors in fatal or serious incidents
- The number of deaths in cars or vans of people not wearing a seat belt increased by 26, with 175 people losing their lives in 2017, compared to 149 in 2016
- A total of 408.5 million long-distance journeys took place, 16.4 million more than 2016, which represents an increase of 4.2% over the previous year
- At the beginning of 2017, 15 urgent road safety measures were announced, of which 90% have already been implemented
- More measures will be implemented in 2018 in several blocks: More reforms, more controls, more education / training and communication, more research and more commitments between administrations and the private sector
In the latest compiled data for 2017, it was revealed that there were 1,067 fatal incidents on the interurban roads of Spain, in which 1,200 people were killed and 4,837 were hospitalised by their injuries, representing an increase of 3% in terms of fatal incidents (+28) and deaths (+39), although there has been a decrease of 6% (-336) in relation to those hospitalised.
The data has been presented by the Director General of Traffic, but is considered provisional as there is still a chance of complications from injuries sustained in incidents, which may alter the figures. Ordinarily, the fatality figures are concluded up to 24 hours after the incident, with an extension to 30 days following incidents on interurban roads.
Despite this upturn, the number of deaths remains below those recorded in 1960, the first year in which statistics are available, when there were 1,300 deaths, with an absolutely different mobility scenario (in 1960 there were one million vehicles and in 2017 the car quota is almost 33 million), but it must also be recognised that vehicle design has also played its part and vehicles today are far more safer than those of 1960, and yet the fatalities increase due, largely, to driver attitude and activity.
According to Gregorio Serrano, the Director General of Traffic, “Although Spain remains one of the safest countries on the road both in the world (8th) and in Europe (5th), we must continue making great efforts among all to reduce the accident figures”, continuing, “I am sure that with the new Traffic and Road Safety Law and with more measures of control, education, training, communication and research, we will be able to reduce the number of deaths on our roads together”, adding, that “no measure is effective if it does not have the involvement of drivers and the rest of the public administration”.
Evolution of the number of deaths in interurban roads (24 hours) 1960 – 2017
With the data we can conclude that the daily average of road fatalities is now 3.3 people per day, compared to 11.6 daily deaths in 2000.
A number of other factors also stand out from the data:
Mobility: An increase of 16.4 million long-distance road trips has been observed, which is 4.2% more than the previous year. In total, 408.5 million long-distance trips were registered in 2017, which represents an accumulated increase of 14.5% over the last four years.
Increase in vehicle numbers: During 2017, 1,787,242 addition vehicles have been registered, which means an automobile quota of almost 33 million vehicles on the roads.
Age of vehicles: Despite the new registrations, in 2017 the average age of the vehicles involved in fatal incidents is now 12 years for passenger cars, a percentage that increases to 13.8 years in the case of the cars involved in fatal incidents.
Characteristics of Incidents
By sex: A higher percentage of male deaths continue. The proportion of males over the total has been 78%, a percentage that remains consistent with respect to 2016.
By age: There is a significant decrease in deaths among people over 65 years of age. In 2017, 181 people died, compared to 240 the previous year.
The age groups in which the number of fatalities increased the most was the 25 to 34 years group, with an increase of 37%, and those aged between 55 and 64 years of age, with an increase of 16%.
With regards to children three more people were killed in 2017 compared to 2016, with a total of 21 children under 14 years of age being killed.
By Autonomous Communities: There was a decline in the number of deaths in a number of regions, including Galicia (-29), Comunidad Valenciana (-17); Basque Country (-6) Navarra (-3), La Rioja and Castilla y León (-1). The Balearic Islands maintained the same number of deaths as the previous year. All other autonomous communities saw an increase in the number of deaths.
By type of route: Of the total number of fatalities, 77% occurred on conventional roads, which is why there is an increased focus in terms of surveillance and control on these routes. Specifically, last year, 792 people died on conventional roads, 30 more than in 2016.
On high capacity roads, the fatality rate decreased from 24% to 23%, from 245 in 2016 to 239 in 2017.
By incident type: On high-capacity roads, 41% of those killed in 2017 were in incidents where their vehicle left the road, 20% were in rear and multiple collisions, and 15% were pedestrian related. On conventional roads, 42% of the deaths were due to incidents where the vehicle left the road, whilst 28% were in frontal collisions.
Contributing factors: Distractions or inattentive driving (32%); inappropriate speed (26%), fatigue or sleep (12%); alcohol (12%) and other drugs (11%) are the factors that most contribute to fatalities, all of which are within the control and responsibility of the driver.
By type of road user: The data analysing the type of road user highlights differing behaviours. There was an increase in the number of fatalities involving car and van drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists, but a significant decrease in the number of pedestrians who lost their lives.
Use of safety equipment: 24% of the drivers and passengers who died in cars and vans in 2017 were not wearing seat belts at the time of the incident. Despite continual warnings and the mandatory requirement, a total of 175 people could still be alive today if they had worn their seat belt, 26 more than in 2016.
Of the 240 people killed on motorcycles, 2 were not wearing a helmet. In the case of cyclists, of the 44 who died, 8 were not wearing a helmet, despite it being mandatory on interurban roads.
Of the 16 children under 12 years of age who died in cars or vans, 4 were not secured by and safety accessory at the time of the incident.
New Measures Taken
At the beginning of 2017, an urgent road safety plan was approved with 15 measures aimed at improving the worsening situation on the roads. Of the 15 urgent measures announced, 90% have already been implemented.
In addition to the 15-point plan, extra regulations and measures were also announced and approved, including the provision of more alcohol and drugs testing kits, 300 new motorcycles and 156 new vans with alcohol and drug testing equipment.
The Basic Plan of Road Education and the Provincial Commissions of Road Education have also been approved, which are already underway.
In addition to all these actions, during 2017, the 52 working groups created within the Superior Council of Traffic and Road Safety have met to discuss the changes and improvements that can be made in the Road Safety Act so that the DGT can subsequently develop the new traffic law to send to the Ministry in the first quarter of the year.
Projects for 2018
Projects set to be implemented during 2018 will be concentrated in several blocks: More reforms, more controls, more education / training and communication, more research and more commitments between administrations and the private sector.
We will look more closely at each of the proposed elements as the year progresses, but for now we can see the lists of these blocks.
New Traffic and Traffic Safety Law, General Regulation of vehicles and Regulation of roadside assistance.
Approval of the State Strategic Plan for the bicycle.
Road safety strategy 2018-2020.
Commissioning of the DGT 3.0 connected vehicle platform.
Strategic vehicle plan.
Plan of measures against the sinisterness of vulnerable people.
Approval of new plan against the speed and publication of a new radar instruction.
Approval of the protocol for the application of Art. 36 of the Driver’s Regulation in the recidivists for alcohol and other drugs.
New comprehensive plan to fight against alcohol and drugs in driving.
Acquisition of drones for traffic control.
More education, training and communication:
Development of the basic Coordination Plans in Road Education.
Acquisition of more pedagogical materials for schools.
Acquisition of 50 mobile traffic playgrounds.
Approval call for aid to associations of victims of traffic incidents, with special attention to the road education of adolescents.
Reform of the road training model in Spain.
Admission of 100 new examiners.
Carrying out communication campaigns in all media (TV, radio, digital …) about the more vulnerable group: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Realisation of new communication campaigns, outdoor advertising and direct actions.
Investment of 1 million euro in research grants
Approval of agreements for the promotion of road safety education with the Autonomous Communities.
Approval framework agreement of collaboration with the FEMP (federation of municipalities).
Celebration of collaboration agreements on road safety with the operators of the roads.
Approval of bilateral agreements with municipalities on vulnerable road safety.
Continue to promote work-based road safety in collaboration with companies.