Spanish traffic authority warns of accidents caused by sleeping behind the wheel

by Lorraine Williamson
falling asleep at the wheel

Spain’s traffic department DGT warns that 7% of Spain’s 1,042 fatal accidents are caused by drowsiness. With around 75 fatal accidents and 250 serious injuries every year. 

This was stated by DGT director general Pere Navarro during the ‘Day on drowsiness and driving’ on Wednesday 5 July. The aim of the day was to expose the extent of the problem linking driving with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). 

Good life, good food, but poor sleep 

‘Spain is a country where people live well, eat well and sleep poorly,’ Navarro said. Sleep problems are a phenomenon that affects health and life, and therefore road safety too. Navarro explained that accidents usually occur between midnight and 6.00 am and between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm. Furthermore, in many cases, high speed, plays a role, motorway entrances and exits are very dangerous, and often the driver is alone in the car. 

Alcohol, drugs or speeding 

Navarro pointed out that 42% of accidents in Spain are caused by drivers going off the road. In a number of cases, this is due to alcohol, drugs or speeding. 

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More than half of all road deaths in 2022 were caused by alcohol, drugs or medication. 


Meanwhile, 38% of accidents are caused because the driver is distracted. For example, by the phone. In 2018, this percentage was higher than that of accidents caused by alcohol for the first time.   

Campaign and cameras should raise driver awareness 

This campaign is aimed at making drivers more aware of the dangers in traffic. Furthermore, there are also 246 high-definition cameras that photograph drivers when they are driving with their mobile phones in hand. He also indicated that the DGT has increased the penalty for driving with a mobile phone from three to six points. 

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