Just like in the world of Houdini’s illusions, not all is what it might seem in the ever popular world of statistics manipulation and ‘spin’, as has been pointed out by Spain’s motorist advocacy organization ‘Dvuelta’. They have announced their “astonishment” by recent statements by the Director General de Tráfico, Pere Navarro, who said that it “makes no sense at all, to install radar in city centres” even though it is there and NOT on the motorways, where more than three-quarters of all road deaths occur!

In the New Economy Forum, Navarro said that he feels “comfortable” with a radar that is presently placed “in a straight line of a highway” because its function is, precisely that “the speeds are met” but he continued by saying that there was “no sense to “install fixed radar on a side street, with a circulation below 6,000 vehicles.” This last comment raised the heckles of more than one motoring organisation who see the focus of the DGT to be more concerned with fund raising than road safety.

The point that Dvuelta makes is that in the eyes of the DGT, it is the minimum number of vehicles that justifies investment in a fixed radar, ie the threshold of profitability of the radar: the point where it pays for itself in addition to providing additional income to the DGT! Thus, it’s easer to fine more motorists for speeding, on roads designed for speed, the highways, rather than fining a fewer number for speeding, in much more dangerous surroundings of the city centre!

Traffic accident

Dvuelta added “saying that it makes no sense to install radar on roads, where three quarters of the fatalities (on secondary roads) occur should also explain where exactly the ‘sense’ is, to install them on the safer roads, where only 10% of fatal accidents happen!” In a statement, ” that will go down in history for the audacity” Navarro said that “we (Spanish Drivers) have a problem with alcohol,” and yet, Dvuelta adds, “far from acknowledging this fact, they have ignored it” stressing that the DGT are intent on focusing on the straightforward target of speeding drivers on the highways and ignoring the much more treacherous drivers who get behind the wheel with an, according to the DGT, “acceptable level of alcohol!”

The inference by Dvuelta is that perhaps the DGT are not in the mood to crack down too hard on drunk drivers as “year after year, brewers sponsor traffic safety campaigns, supposedly funded by the DGT!”

Navarro also pointed out his concern for accidents; over 81,000 of them, or about (225 per day), that take place close to home or when commuting to work. However, and this is the kicker, although many accidents and deaths involve ‘professional drivers’ such as taxis, police, emergency services, buses, couriers, van and truck drivers, etc, none of these ‘in town’ accidents are added to the DGT statistics. Thus, the 81,000-recorded accidents are just for ‘common folk’ and not those who make their living from driving! “What would the actual number of deaths produced be, if they were included in those 81,000 accidents a year, in the last three years” they wondered! One might also speculate as to how various branches of the Tráfico police, would also be funded, if they did not have the easy option of fixed radar!