The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has announced that as part of this year´s special summer traffic monitoring operation, they will have five drones watching the roads from the air, in addition to the usual fleet of helicopters, planes and ground patrols.
Spain´s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, made the announcement this week as he explained the additional plans put in place for this summer with the aim of making the roads safer for all during the summer, when 89.3 million trips are forecast, 2% more than last year.
The drones are destined to operate primarily on conventional roads, where 80% of those killed in traffic collisions occur. Strengthening support for the island communities, one of the ten helicopters will be watching over the Balearic Islands, whilst one of the five drones, will operate from the Canary Islands due, according to the minister, to the increase of displacements in both archipelagos. For the moment, the minister has pointed out that unlike the Pegasus equipped helicopters, the drones will only be dedicated to traffic monitoring, not enforcement (yet).
During the presentation, the minister was accompanied by the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Isabel Goicoechea, and the General Director of Traffic, Gregorio Serrano, amongst others.
The governmental representatives detailed how this year they anticipate approximately 43.6 million trips in July, whilst in August, it is expected that there will be close to 45.7 million journeys by road.
As always during the summer the operation is spread over the entire period, operating in blocks of two weeks, based around the usual vacation period, with traffic initially leaving the inland and city areas to head towards coastal and mountainous regions at the beginning, returning at the end, and in the middle, a combination of both. Meanwhile, during the entire holiday period, the leisure areas will see more local journeys taking place, often by drivers a little unsure of their surroundings and facing a busier period themselves, thus making driving often a more stressful experience than it should be.
The Three Special Operations
During the period, there will be three special operations. The first one will begin this Friday, June 29 at 3:00 p.m. and will last until 12:00 p.m on Sunday, July 1. During this weekend, it is anticipated that 4.4 million trips are planned. The second operation will be from July 31 to August 1 and the third will begin on August 31, extending to September 1 and 2.
The ministerial team continued to explain that during the summer, road surveillance will be reinforced every weekend as well as on 14 and 15 August, due to the changeover of the fortnight vacation, and the celebration of numerous patron saint festivities.
In addition to the summer traffic operation, there will also be the usual, “Operation Paso del Estrecho”, which will take place from June 15 to September 15, adding another 700,000 road trips, usually with heavily laden vehicles, planned.
During the entire summer period, the minister has asked for “safety”, “confidence” and “solidarity” with other road users. “We do not only play with our own lives, but we play with the lives of others,” said Grande-Marlaska, who says he is “worried” about road traffic incident figures. “We carry a weapon when we drive, it is an extremely dangerous element,” he warned.
The advice is always the same. Allow extra time for your journey, however long or short, stay calm at all times, maintain a safe distance and adhere to the rules of the roads, such as maximum permitted speed limits. Never consume alcohol or drugs before driving. Switch off your mobile phone completely and give 100% concentration to the task of driving.