July 1st saw the beginning of the new points-based driving license in Spain, with 5 drivers loosing all their points, and thus their license, on the first day alone. El Casareño Ingles, a fellow Spain blog, has a good run down of the day’s first statistics. As far as I am concerned the new system is more than welcome – the more lunatics they get off the roads of Spain the better.
Will it work? Things may improve for a while, certainly we noticed less speeding maniacs as we drove down the A3 motorway last night, listening to a radio interview with the inspiring Enrique Cenalmor, the Police Chief Inspector from Navalmoral de la Mata (near Caceres). He has set up Spain’s first ‘Accident Museum’ (pdf file) in a field near the police station, consisting of mangled and burnt out cars from horrendous, and usually fatal, local accidents. Tours are given, with lectures on road traffic safety from local policemen. ‘Traffic accidents cost the lives of 90 people a week in Spain,’ he said. ‘If those figures were a result of terrorism, don’t you think the government would do more about it?’ Good point.
He went on to argue that responsible driving needs to be taught from an early age. If our parents can teach us how to behave in public, not to steal or use violence, to strive for good grades, then why aren’t children also being taught how to avoid killing each other in cars?