The high density of traffic and the inadequate road network in the Balearics are two of the reasons for the high number of fatal accidents. This year, the death toll on Balearic roads is 30 per cent higher that the total figure for last year. 106 lives have been lost over the past eight months and the director of the Balearic Traffic department, Josep Coromina said yesterday that between January and August of 2000, the death toll was 80. Coromina blames the high number of vehicles and that the region's roads are unable to handle such a high density of traffic. In the Balearics there are 950 cars per 1'000 inhabitants, a figure which the Traffic boss says “is probably the highest in the world.” But, to the contrary, the Balearic road network has neither been built nor designed for so many cars, hence the “spectacular” rise in road deaths Coromina said. Despite the Balearic government's unwillingness to build more motorways, Coromina spelt out that unless effective steps are taken to reduce the number of vehicles, more motorways have got to be built in order to increase the level of road safety, otherwise the death toll will continue to rise. The Traffic boss said that the reality is that “motorways are safer and reduce the numbers of the most common fatal accident: head on collision.” Javier Coromina stressed the need for the local government to act swiftly. He pointed out that last year the number of vehicles in the Balearics rose to 72.535, over double the 30.969 cars registered in 1991 and more than the 64.270 three years ago. The latest data shows that, apart from during April and June, the death toll has risen on a monthly basis. February was a particularly black month for the Balearics; in 28 days, a total of 16 lives were lost on the roads - during February last year, just seven people died. This month is also looking tragic, two people died in August last year, this year, ten lives have already been claimed by traffic accidents. Coromina explained that of the 106 lives lost since the start of this year, 30 per cent of the victims have been aged under 25 and the principal causes have been speeding, failure to obey the highway code, dangerous over taking and failing to stop at crossroads. He also said that other causes include driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Coromina has spoken out just days after it was revealed that Balearic drivers have the worst theory pass rate in Spain and he said yesterday that in half of this year's fatal accidents, neither the regulation crash helmets or seat belts have been worn. Over the past nine years, 1.344 lives have been lost on the Balearics' roads, 1.042 in Majorca.

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