The General Directorate of Traffic ordered in early August to resume normality on the roads and leave behind the role that the security forces had played during the state of alarm, when the agents of the National Police and the Civil Guard they became pursuers of citizens who skipped the restrictions imposed by the Government, among which were the prohibition of taking the car except to go to work or leaving the house to run or other leisure activities. An email sent to all the departments of the Civil Guard Traffic Group stated that officials had to redo controls and tasks as before the limitations implemented as a result of the pandemic.
“Once the state of alarm scenario has been overcome to face the health crisis caused by the covid-19, the gradual normalization of mobility continues and, therefore, a greater impact on road safety and accidents in particular“said the aforementioned communiqué, issued specifically on August 3.” This obliges the group to progressively resume the ordinary functions of surveillance, regulation and control of traffic, which involves the recovery of prevention campaigns, carrying out controls preventives, etc. “, added the note, which reached all sectors and also attached an action protocol for the agents to execute the order and resume the alcohol and drug tests safely.
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The ‘mail’ added that the order would enter into force “once the units have been equipped with the necessary material. As explained by the Spanish Association of Civil Guards, however, the instruction began to function without this condition. “There began to be material problems, kits were missing to carry out drug tests,” says the Trafficking spokesman of the aforementioned association. Fernando Garcia, who understands that there was plenty of equipment for the breathalyzer tests, but not for the drug ones. The situation, he adds, continues until yesterday. “There are still very few and those that exist are reserved in each subsector for urgent cases such as an accident,” the official describes.
The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), for its part, denies that there is a shortage of kits. “All sectors have teams,” say sources from the department dependent on the Ministry of Interior, which admit that during the alarm state very few controls were made because there was hardly any movement of vehicles, but that in the de-escalation, both random alcohol and drug tests have been resumed, and that there are devices to do both. They add from the DGT, in addition, that also after the state of alarm the agents received a course to apply a protocol on how to correctly and safely carry out both controls, in order to avoid coronavirus infections.
In the next few days, the summer return operation will begin, for which the DGT will put a special device, as every year. However, on this occasion, as reported by AEGC, the drug detection controls they will hardly be possible due to the lack of equipment denounced by the association, which has also highlighted the vehicle shortage to deal with the aforementioned return operation. Specifically, the association maintains, in line with other professional groups such as the Unified Association of Civil Guards, that there are at least more than fifty vehicles stopped due to “lack of budget” for their repair.
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Most, they add, remain parked due to mechanical breakdowns, flat tires or maintenance problems that are not fixed. “Many are used as little as possible to make them last longer,” they say from AEGC. For example, they continue from this association, in a detachment of the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard of the Valencian Community, there are only two bikes available of the seven they have. “There are five stops because the agreement with BMW has expired and they cannot do maintenance,” they add.
AUGC, for its part, made a public complaint last week to the same effect. “In many subsectors, they cannot provide service on motorcycles because they are stopped for lack of a contract,” says the aforementioned association, which criticizes the leadership of the group for remaining passive in the face of this problem. “It gives the impression that the war is not going with them”, reflected a press release issued by AUGC in which he put more examples. In the Teruel dependencies, the statement read, there are 26 inoperative motorcycles. “Almost all of those available to provide service throughout the province,” added the note. In Tenerife, the text insists, there are “almost one hundred vehicles immobilized for different reasons, all of them related to the lack of budget.” “In four-wheelers, something similar happens,” added the AUGC statement.