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Spain’s traffic authorities introduce seatbelt camera technology to curb under-use

Author:   |  November 22nd, 2017

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Zero drivers are unaware that seatbelts save lives, but not everybody wears them.

Zero drivers are unaware that seatbelts save lives, but not everybody wears them.

Last weekend, Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) officially rolled out cameras across the country that are designed to spot drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts

The punishment for those caught going belt-free is a-not-insignificant €200, as well as three points on the licence of drivers – regardless of whether it was they, or their passengers, who failed to belt up.

However, these cameras will not be sneakily hidden behind bushes or at blind corners: Spanish law denotes that the location of the cameras must be disclosed, as is the case with speed cameras.

Nevertheless, while speed cameras force a temporary slowdown, the very idea that drivers will belt up as they approach a camera, and then release their seatbelts once safely past it is, the authorities hope, pretty far-fetched: the intention is to effect behaviour change completely, albeit slowly.

The introduction of the cameras follows a three-month period where traffic police armed with standard radars have made a concerted effort to clamp down on vehicles where those inside are not wearing a seatbelt. Thus far, offenders have escaped with a written warning, but the threat of a sizeable fine should at least force most motorists to think twice before hopping behind the wheel and driving off without belting up.

Data from the DGT estimates that 60% of people killed on Spain’s roads each year would have survived if they had worn seatbelts.

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