The death toll on Spanish roads over Easter week turned out to be a staggering 108 fatalities. This unfortunate loss of life resulted from 90 road accidents that occurred throughout the country over the Spring holiday week and more than equals last years morbid figure of 105 funerals.
It seems quite evident that few people paid any heed whatsoever to the television and radio campaigns broadcast continuously in the run up to the April break. It is reported that the main causes of accident were, “distracted driving”, “speeding”, “tiredness”, “inexperience” and “alcohol”. Significantly, 48% of the perished victims were not wearing seatbelts.
As a result, Spain is this week finally waking up to a very serious social problem that has until now gone completely unnoticed. The public are suddenly horrified by the quite incredible fact that 16 people die daily on Spanish roads or worse still, that in the present day Spain, the main cause of death of people between the ages of 9 and 25 are road accidents. In 2005 alone, 3329 people were killed on Spanish roads.
Obviously there are a number of factors which contribute considerably to such road carnage. My attention is drawn in particular to the leniency shown by the courts and police towards these reckless road offenders. For example, only last year one of Spains most celebrated Flamenco dancers, Farruquito, received a 16 month suspended sentence for killing a 30 year old pedestrian in a “hit and run,” in which he ignored “red lights” while driving without a license at 80km/hr in a 40km speed limit. Subsequently, only to make a mockery of his deed, he then sent his younger brother to claim responsibilty for the unjust death. It is important to state however that the fame of Farruquito did not influence the judgement laid down. While it may have drawn an incredulous public reaction and extensive media commentary, the dancer in actuial fact only received what was the typical punishment in all similar cases to date.
On a final note, in the blackest of humour a friend yesterday commented that the best way to get away with a premeditated murder is to “run over” your victim. Perhaps he is more correct than he realises.