Pere Navarro, the head of the public agency the DGT was speaking at a press conference on Tuesday to launch the new road safety campaign En la carretera, cerveza SIN (“On the road, beer without alcohol”).
But the question of smoking behind the wheel was also raised.
Navarro called smoking behind the wheel “extremely dangerous”, but qualified his support for its prohibition by adding, “we don't see the Guardia Civil chasing smokers, we wouldn't feel comfortable.”
He did, however, remind smokers that tossing a cigarette butt out a vehicle’s window is illegal, punishable with a minimum €200 fine and the loss of 4 points off one’s driver’s license.
The Spanish traffic control body’s director indicated that he would support the Ministry of Health should they seek to ban smoking while driving as a public safety measure, saying that “we love seeing progress in this fight, but the DGT still doesn’t have any rules on the table.”
The newspaper ABC reported
on Tuesday that the Ministry of Health is planning on opening up the “war on tobacco behind the wheel” with the DGT’s cooperation.
The Health Ministry, like the DGT, argues that smoking while driving is a dangerous distraction, and is considering attempting to prohibit the practice as part of upcoming public safety legislation.
This DGT tweet indicates that lighting a cigarette distracts drivers during 4 seconds, on average.
On the subject of drink driving Navarro said that 24 per cent of drivers killed last year had high rates of alcohol in their blood.
That percentage rises to 35 per cent for those killed on urban roads.