Drink driving in Spain

In an attempt to restrict road accidents in Spain over the Christmas period, the body which controls road safety here, the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico), is going to vastly increase the amount of random breathalyser tests all over Spain.

The DGT has announced this morning the following details of its Christmas anti-drink driving campaign:

  • More than 800 police alcohol control points on Spanish roads
  • 110.000 breathalyser tests to be carried out from today until 20th December
  • Tests to be carried out during the day aswell as during the night. It is very unusual for Spanish police to do day-time random breathalyser tests and by increasing daytime breathalyser tests, police hope to disuade people from drinking and driving in the typical company Christmas lunches.
  • Radio and road panel advertising campaign all over Spain with the slogan “Do yourself a favour. If you drink, don’t drive” (the literal translation of the first part is “Save yourself a bad swallow”.

    “Un mal trago” in Spanish means literally “a bad swallow”, so the whole slogan is quite a clever play on words)

In Spain the legal limit of alcohol is 0.5 g/l blood and 0.25 mg/l breath out for normal drivers. In professional drivers the limit is reduced to 0.5 g and 0.15 g respectively.

Drink driving is a big problem in Spain and it is no coincidence that this country’s record of road safety and mortal accidents is one of the worst in Europe. According to government figures, alcohol causes between 30% and 50% deaths in Spanish road accidents. In December 2003, 366 people died in traffic accidents in Spain, and 1000 people were injured.

The only thing the DGT could be criticised for is the limited length of the campaign. By limiting its duration to 20th December, the measures will not be in force on the days when alcohol consumption is at its highest – 20th December until 1st January.

Related links:

Road safety in Spain

Driving offences in Spain

Roads in Spain