The network of traffic monitoring cameras across Spain are now catching bad driving practices which is costing those responsible 16,528 euro per hour in fines.
The information has been released in response to parliamentary questions, which have revealed that the total figure collected has increased six fold in as many years.
In 2011, the total amount collected by fines was 16.1 million euro. In 2012, the figure had increased considerably to 121.3 million, and has then shown a constant increase to 124.2 in 2013, 129.6 in 2014, 119.2 up to September of 2015 and 162.3 million last year.
Thanks largely to the development and implementation of new equipment, and an increase in the location of both fixed and mobile cameras, 2016 was a milestone for road safety enforcement. The sanctions reached a rate of 18,485 euro per hour, ten times above the 1,483 of 2011, while the number of sanctions soared to 4,369,603, almost 500 per hour.
However, despite the increase in the number of cameras and active patrols, it is still impossible to watch every kilometre of road and fatality figures still continue to grow. Last year, there was a 7% increase in road deaths in Spain, with the number of fatal incidents reaching 102,362, a figure which has not been as bleak in the last quarter of a century.
On interurban roads, which is where most serious incidents occur, and, subsequently, where most of the attention is directed during traffic violation campaigns, the number of incidents has remained at similar levels, slightly below 35,878 in 2011 (35,147 in 2014) but with peaks such as 37,297 in 2013, while the total volume of incidents continues to grow (from 83,027 in 2011 to 97,756 in 2015). The number of deaths on these roads are stable below 1,700 although with a slight upward trend since 2013, and broke that barrier last year to shoot up to 1,810. The number of incidents with fatalities as well as deaths (not including those who die within 30 days after the accident, more than 600 a year) recorded a slight fall of 1% and 2% so far this year.
Excessive or inappropriate speed is the main cause of incidents on Spanish roads, and is of course one of the main factors which are completely in the control of the driver who decides to act in this manner, subsequently being the person responsible in the event of an incident, or being fined, or causing a fatal crash. Failure to maintain a safe distance, failing to observe stop signs or priorities, invading the wrong lane, overtaking incorrectly, distractions such as using a mobile phone and having consumed alcohol or drugs are also amongst the biggest causes of incidents, are amongst the biggest reasons for getting fined, and are all within the control of the driver to avoid.
As a final note, it should be pointed out that despite the increase in the number of devices monitoring and detecting road traffic violations, the increase in the number of these items is considerably less than the proportion of sanctions issued, with equipment installations only increasing by 11% since 2011, although this figure will continue to grow. The contributions from those drivers caught helping to fund the development and implementation of more equipment aimed at trying to keep everybody safer on the roads.