Motorists who are caught drink-driving or using drugs on more than one occasion in two years will now face an automatic ban and mandatory healthcheck to see if they are addicted to booze or drugs.

 

Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said that though the measure already exists in law, it is rarely applied at the moment. In the light of the recent tragedy on the northern Costa Blanca where a driver mowed down a group of cyclists after a night of drinking and drug-taking, the minister said that something needed to be done after a series of high-profile accidents.

 

Zoido added that changes need to be made before more lives are lost, and said that repeat offenders found to have diagnosable drug or alcohol issues may be obliged to undergo medical treatment and be stopped from driving until they are ‘clean’. And if criminal proceedings against them after they cause accidents are dropped, civil proceedings will be conducted instead, to ensure they never get away scot-free.

 

The minister intends to increase police presence on secondary roads on Saturday and Sunday mornings, when the majority of cycling and pedestrian accidents happen due to partygoers returning home, and wants to set up more checkpoints in these areas at those times. He plans to increase the number of checkpoints substantially, as well as sending out helicopters to work out which roads are the most heavily-frequented by cyclists, and when.

 

An awareness campaign will include adverts featuring real-life testimonials by accident victims or their friends and family members and be broadcast on TV and radio before summer.