Alert for Fugitive Heading to Spain

Belgian Police have alerted Spanish authorities of a “radicalised and armed” fugitive heading to Spain.

Alert for Fugitive Heading to Spain

An international arrest warrant is in place for Ilias Zohrie for attempted homicide after a failed attack on a nightclub in Antwerp and the attempted murder of the Coroner for Gieselinck, France.

Zohrie, a Belgian national born in 1988, is described as “extremely dangerous” and has absconded from Belgium reported heading to Spain on Wednesday of this week. All inbound ports, airports and transit points have been put on alert, although it I believed that Zohrie will be travelling through France, possibly on Moroccan papers.

The authorities are also on the lookout for three vehicles which they believe might be used to transport the fugitive, an Opel Corsa or an Opel Astra, both of which display the number plate 1JNT244, or a Volkswagen Golf, registration number 1FKC916.

Anybody who sees a person who looks like Zohrie, or any of the vehicles mentioned, should contact the security services immediately on the multi-lingual emergency number, 112, or 062 direct to the Guardia Civil for those who speak Spanish.

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Fatal Crash on the N-332 near La Marina

One person was killed and another four injured, two of them seriously, following a head-on collision between two cars on the N-332 main road near La Marina.

Fatal Crash on the N332 (1)

The incident occurred at around 07:00 near kilometre 78 of the coastal road, in a section where one lane runs in each direction.

Fatal Crash on the N332 (2)

The deceased is believed to be a Ukrainian national of 41-years of age, whereas those injured are said to be a woman of 25, who suffered abdominal trauma and was taken to Vinalopó hospital, a 30-year old man who also received abdominal injuries and taken to Elche general hospital, both of whom are in a serious condition. The other two injured parties were aged 24 and 25 and were taken to Torrevieja hospital with less serious injuries.

Fatal Crash on the N332 (3)

The Guardia Civil are investigating the cause on the tragic incident although initial indications suggest that one of the vehicles invaded the opposite lane resulting in the collision.

The road was completely blocked to traffic whilst the emergency services attended the scene and then subsequently cleared the wreckage, opening at 11:00, some 4 hours later.

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European Police Patrolling in Spain Once Again

Officers from the French National Gendarmerie have joined colleagues from the Guardia Civil in Spain as part of the summer tourism operations aimed at maintaining a safer environment for international and domestic tourists in the country.

This week, French officers have been welcomed to the Alicante town of Altea, amongst some of the most popular tourist destinations for French visitors.

European Police Patrolling in Spain Once Again

The Spanish Government has implemented the 2016 plan, which has proved a huge success in previous years, not only because foreign visitors feel more at ease when they see their own national police, but shared intelligence through the European-wide collaboration has been proven to lead to a reduction in organised crime across the continent.

In addition to the European assistance, Spain also strengthens the presence of its own security services in the tourist rich towns, including relocating officers from the likes of the Guardia Civil and the police, and the opening of specially adapted officers where tourists can be dealt with in their own native language. In addition, the Valencia regional police also increase controls in tourist areas, and so with the collaboration of all forces not only is security increased, the impact and risk of crime decreases.

For its part, the Guardia Civil collaborates with Europe-wide forces throughout the year, including an exchange program run through the European Police College, where information and knowledge on practices and operations are shared through the continent.

Guardia Officer Invents Life Saving Device

A Guardia Civil traffic officer, Jorge Torre Sarmiento, assisted by a marketing and design expert, Roberto Pérez Marijuán, have invented a device which they think will speed up the time in which other road users are advised of the presence of a disabled or broken down vehicle, thus saving lives as a result.

Guardia Officer Invents Life Saving Device 2

When a vehicle becomes disabled, perhaps due to an incident or break down, the natural reaction of the driver will often be to put hazard lights on then attempt to restart the vehicle, then call for assistance from their breakdown or insurance service, and then put on a high visibility vest, go to the boot and place warning triangles on the road advising of the presence of the disabled vehicle.

All too often, this process can take between 8 and 10 minutes, during which time the vehicle is left in a vulnerable position and presenting a potential hazard to other road users and the vehicle´s occupants.

In order to try to alleviate this problem of vulnerability, made worse in the event of low light such as night time or when the vehicle has no power for the hazard lights, the officer has invented a device called “Help-Flash” which can be used as a first indicator of a hazard whilst the correct procedure of laying out triangles is being carried out.

Jorge Torre Sarmiento describes himself as a frustrated engineer, and is well known in his local area for inventing a variety of devices and designs. The 47-year old officer, based in Vigo, graduated in criminology and joined the Guardia Civil, despite his desire to be a designer. His role has subsequently meant he could fulfil both functions.

He already has a number of successful patents to his name, such as a “girolina”, a device that allows young children and the elderly sharpen pencils without any effort, a device for Formula 1 engineering teams to change tyres in a matter of minutes by removing all of the bolts at the same time, and a set of tweezers for a specific type of clothing.

However, “Help-Flash” is his first invention that will hit the mass market, and will do so with the help of Pérez Marijuán, co-founder of a marketing company, who has been on tour with the device to secure development funding.

“Help-Flash” is a small emergency light, powered by a conventional battery, which emits a flashing light visible for up to a kilometre away. It is activated by a magnetic support and can also be used as a flashlight.

The project was conceived in collaboration with the Centro Tecnológico de Automoción de Galicia (CTAG), and a group representing the victims of road traffic incidents, the Avata Hispania.

Stored in the glove box, the device can be activated in seconds and placed on the exterior of the vehicle where the magnetic contact will keep it in place, allowing the driver to then place warning triangles and make the vehicle occupants secure.

Guardia Officer Invents Life Saving Device

The Kickstarter project is also looking into developing a mobile application which can alert the emergency services to your precise location at the push of a button.

Jorge is understandably passionate about the project, which is why he has taken a break from active duty to develop it. Primarily, his motivation is clear, when asked why, he simply replied, “I think it can save lives”.

For more information and to support the project, visit http://netunsolutions.com/help-flash/

help-flash english version from NETUN solutions on Vimeo.

Fined for Falsifying ITV Sticker

The Courts in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have imposed a fine of 540 euro on a 33-year old woman who changed the ITV sticker on her vehicle so as to pretend that her car had successfully passed the mandatory test.

Mini-Cooper-Segunda-Mano-ITV

The case has taken two years to get to court and was brought about after two local police officers from Las Palmas attended an incident in the El Lasso area. A vehicle check indicated that one of the cars had not undertaken a successful ITV test, and had not been considered roadworthy for some months, despite the vehicle displaying a sticker in the windscreen.

The officers submitted a report for proceedings of a crime of forgery of public documents.

Once the case reached the courts the judge considered the evidence sufficient to prove that a fraudulent act had taken place and therefore condemned the vehicle owner to pay the 540 euro fine over a period of two months.

It is a mandatory requirement for vehicles which have reached the statutory age to display an ITV sticker in the windscreen, which is colour coded in accordance with the year of expiry and contains the expiry date.

Only one ITV sticker should be displayed at any one time and so once the next test has been passed and a new sticker issued, the previous one should be removed. The sticker should also be placed in the top right hand side of the windscreen (as you look out), so that officers looking out for it will be able to see the data quicker and are less likely to have to force you to stop whilst they check the details.

It is also mandatory to carry the ITV card and report with you in the vehicle as one of the documents you must carry in the car, along with the Permiso de Circulacion.

N332 RoadWatch Issue 01 – July 2016

Welcome to issue 1 of N332 RoadWatch, our new regular eMagazine. This is the next progression in the N332 road safety project, supporting the website and the articles published on Facebook, and bringing them to you in a new and easy to read format via your computer and tablet.

You can read this first edition for FREE by clicking the virtual magazine image below. Alternatively, you can purchase and download your own copy in PDF format buy clicking the BUY button at the bottom. Please make sure your computer or device is capable of reading PDF´s first though. If you downloaded our eBook you will be fine as it is the same format.

We have released this first edition as a free read but in the future it will only be available for free to our N332 Club members. I know what you´re thinking, what´s the N332 Club? Well, we will give you more information about that in the next few weeks, but let me just tell you that is is the next exciting stage for the N332 project where membership will certainly have its benefits.

For now though, back to N332 RoadWatch. Some of the articles you may have read before right here on the website, but they are seasonal, and so it is important that we remind ourselves of the importance of such things as not wearing flip-flops when driving, for example. Other articles are yet to be published here and you won´t get them anywhere else.

By the way, as always, if you do pay the small fee to download your own copy in PDF format, the money received goes back into the project, as everybody involved gives up their time for free, and we will be giving a portion of the earnings to a charity, more about that in the next edition.

Meanwhile, if you are a business and would like to get involved by supporting us, in exchange for an advert in these pages of N332 RoadWatch or the website, send us an email, admin@n332.es.

As for everybody else, we hope you enjoy this first edition. We are now off to start work on the next. Enjoy your summer and stay safe.


If you do want to purchase your own copy to download (remember to make sure you can view PDF´s first though), click the button below…

Purchase and Download your own PDF

Driving Restrictions for Pensioners

Drivers over the age of 65 may face restrictions on their driving based on medical conditions.

Depending on the type and severity of medical failures, the traffic department have issued a list of guidelines on restrictions that the over 65´s may face.

The first restriction could be based on distance, with older drivers restricted to journeys not exceeding either 20 or 50 kilometres distance.

Elderly drivers may also face permanent bans from driving on motorways, or at night.

Drivers may face restrictions in the maximum permitted speed which the vehicle they are driving may travel. The actual restrictions will be assessed by the driving examiners based on the medical evidence but could restrict vehicles to a maximum of either 70 or 100 kilometres per hour.

Driving licences will have to be renewed every 5 years for the over 65´s, rather than every 10 years for those under the age bracket. However, the 5 year renewal is based on a person of optimum health, the examination may result in a forced renewal every 2, 3 or 4 years, which may alter after each renewal depending on how health has declined.

The over 65´s must also provide a certificate from the family doctor in the case of having been diagnosed with a chronic disease which may affect driving ability, if they have had cataract surgery or heart surgery, and if they are diabetic or taking medications such as Sintrom or other anticoagulant drugs.

The Hazards of Heat

High summer temperatures may be a welcome change for those looking to relax on the beach this summer, but higher temperatures pose an often hidden risk, especially to vehicles and road safety.

The most vulnerable parts of the vehicle in extreme temperatures are tyres, brakes and shock absorbers, all of which are crucial to keeping a moving vehicle under control and stopping safely.

Driving with tyres with low pressure increases the probability of a blowout by up to 60%, shortens its life by up to 15% and increases fuel consumption by up to 7%.

tyre-blowout

With the intense external heat, the engine loses up to 15% power and potentially even more as it drives the cooling and air conditioning systems.

The brakes overheat, this in turn can increase consumption of brake fluid and can cause a phenomenon known as “fading”, which reduces the ability to slow the vehicle down.

In order to reduce these factors and keep your vehicle at its optimum, frequent checks of tyres, brakes, shock absorbers, oil, brake and coolant levels, the battery, lights and air conditioning should all be checked regularly, and especially before a long journey.

If this seems like a daunting task then you can always call into your local maintenance garage and ask them to do the checks for you. Many garages already offer a comprehensive summer service, although many drivers don´t realise that this is equally as important as a winter service, and so the heightened risks continue.

Aside from the safety aspects of the vehicle, one common maintenance call during summer is for the failure of air conditioning units. Experts say that these should be checked at least once a year and before the summer, as for most of the cooler months the units lay dormant and can fail over time without being noticed. Sometimes, the presence of an unpleasant odour is an indicator of a failure of the air conditioning.

Air conditioning that is working too hard can not only increase the mechanical strain. An average air conditioning unit will cool the vehicle´s interior to around 22 degrees Celsius, whereas cooling the air to just 20 degrees will increase fuel consumption by up to 20%.

It is also important to ensure that your vehicle is correctly loaded before a summer trip. Remember not to exceed the maximum permitted load, not only for the vehicle, but also for the tyres. Weight should be evenly distributed with heavier items nearest the ground and as near to the centre of the vehicle as possible, without impeding the passenger´s mobility, but maintaining a centre of gravity wherever possible. Once loaded, remember to adjust the tyre pressure as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, and then increase the pressure once the vehicle is unloaded.

Never carry loose items in the interior of the vehicle as these could become projectiles in the event of heavy braking or a collision and can seriously injure, or worse, the occupants of the car. Finally, if carrying a protruding load, remember not to exceed the permitted dimensions, use a V20 warning sign on the rear, and make sure that lights and number plates remain unobstructed at all times.

Full Timetable of Summer Operations 2016

To make it easier as a reference, here is the schedule of operations on the roads of Spain this summer:

01 July to 03 July – 1ª Operación verano

11 July to 17 July – Intensified checks on vehicle standards

29 July to 01 August – Operación 1º de agosto

12 August to 15 August – Operación 15 de agosto

15 August to 21 August – Intensified checks on alcohol and drug use.

22 August to 28 August – Intensified speed checks.

26 August to 28 August – Operación Retorno del verano

Plus special operations running on every weekend in between.

drogas2

Summer Campaign Runs through July and August

During the course of the summer months of July and August, the roads of Spain are expected to carry some 84 million vehicles, 3.5% more than the movements that occurred last summer.

As usual, the busiest periods, and therefore the major traffic plans, are split into a number of operations around the main weekends. The first operation took place during the first weekend of July when 4,050,000 long haul journeys took place, with the main flow of traffic heading away from inland and city areas to the coast and mountainous regions.

Typically, domestic tourists take a two week break from their usual working lives, and so the busiest rimes are ordinarily based around this, starting with the first influx from inland to the coast and mountains, then they return two weeks later as the next batch arrive, and so on, with August typically the busiest month of all. Across the two months, forecasts are for 41 million trips in July and 43 million by August.

In order to keep traffic flowing, the DGT will deploy around 10,000 officers and agents on the ground, including the Guardia Civil Trafico and DGT staff, specialised technicians, conservationists and the emergency coordination teams.

In order to reduce incidents on the roads, 300 sections which have been identified as the most dangerous will be displaying signs warning drivers, and for them to be aware and alert of the factors of the road and the speed of their vehicles. These sections will also be under more surveillance by enforcement officers during the entire campaign.

senialTrafico

The DGT has spent a million euro on new mobile cameras which can be carried by traffic police on their motorcycles. These cameras can be placed on a tripod by the side of the road and can be used to create speed check zones at some of the places where conventional radar cars my have posed problems. These new cameras also mean that speed detection zones can be set up at multiple locations along the same route, whereas conventionally the normal practice was for one radar car to cover an entire section of road.

Surveillance by the airborne monitoring Pegasus equipped helicopters will increase. In the first five months of the year 106 people have lost their lives on motorways or highways compared to 70 at the same time last year. Therefore, Pegasus will pay close attention to problems on this type of road, including speeding, maintaining a safe distance, seatbelt use and using a mobile phone.

There will also be three intensified operations during the summer period. The first one aims to monitor the condition of vehicles on our roads. The risk of dying or suffering an injury with hospitalization increases with the age of the vehicle, which is why an increased maintenance schedule is crucial. This campaign will take place from the 11th to the 17th of July.

Coinciding with the fiestas surrounding the 15th of August, and the increase in festivals throughout the country, an intensified campaign monitoring for alcohol and drug use will take place. These checks will be at any time of day and on any roads.

During the week commencing the 22nd of August there will be an increase in checks on speeding vehicles. This will be done using all available equipment and resources to try to clampdown on those who break the law by speeding.

In order to ease congestion, most major road works will be suspended and there will be restrictions on the movement of certain types of goods. Extra lanes will be created in the busiest areas and the Guardia Civil traffic police will be out in force to ensure the safe flow of vehicles.

The advice, as always, is to try to avoid the busiest times, allow extra time for your journey, stay calm and adhere to the laws of the road at all times.

Characteristics of Summer Traffic

Summer traffic has different characteristics to that at other times of year and that must be taken into account:

  1. Increased number of long haul journeys on both business days and especially on weekends.
  2. Less conflict in the access to large urban areas during peak hours of business days in the entrance and exit to the workplace.
  3. Increased vehicle traffic on secondary roads.
  4. Intense traffic on roads linking coastal towns and tourist areas of coastline with beaches every day of the week.
  5. Increased presence of cyclists and pedestrians on the road.
  6. Increased movement throughout the road network of foreign registered vehicles.
  7. Increase in the number of sports that use the road for which additional supplementary measures will be in place.

In addition to domestic tourists traveling to coastal areas, keep in mind that Spain is a country of transit for millions of citizens from other European countries who return to their home countries in places such as Africa. Many of them choose Spain as a route to their destination, which is why the government also implemented a special campaign “Paso del Estrecho” from June. More than 600,000 car journeys by road will cross the peninsula.

Add to that the number of international tourists who choose Spain as their holiday destination, some of whom drive to the country, others who hire a vehicle when they arrive.

The combination of the three factors of domestic tourists, those passing through the country, and those who may not be used to driving on these roads, especially when it is one of the busiest times of year, all lead to potential problems.

Patience and planning are key, always driving within the rules and laws and allowing extra time for your journey wherever you go are all vital.