The age of the park causes fatal accidents


44% of accidents with victims registered in Spain involve a vehicle older than 15 years

The Spanish parking lot
is obsolete, as 22.9 million vehicles, 2 out of 3, are more than ten years old and 16.2 million more than 15 years old. The economic situation, social changes related to mobility and environmental awareness, the component crisis or, more recently, inflation or higher fuel prices have severely hampered car sales.

In fact, registrations have plummeted by 35% in the last 3 years, making the Spanish park one of the oldest in the countries around us, reaching an average age of 13.5 years at the end of 2021. Moreover, the evolution of the age of our vehicles shows alarming figures, as the parking in our country is 38% older than a decade ago.

But beyond economic reasons, the age of the Spanish parking lot and its
lack of maintenance impact on road safety. For example, in the past ten years, nearly 2,700 people have died in crashes involving vehicles over the age of 15, and the percentage of cars over the age of 15 involved in fatal crashes has tripled, from 15% to 44% of the total. The proportion of serious injuries involving cars older than 15 years has also tripled since 2011, from 12% to 39%.

These are figures collected in the study «Outdated cars, real risk. Influence of the age of the fleet on the number of accidents (2011-2020)» presented yesterday and prepared by the Fundación Línea Directa in collaboration with Centro Zaragoza. According to their estimates, taking into account the lethality vehicles exhibit according to their age, if it were possible to reduce
the middle age of Spanish cars under 10 years of age, up to 260 lives can be saved annually.

Recent months have been particularly alarming, as a total of 225 people died on the country’s roads in July and August this year, a figure that is 19% more than the fatalities during the same period of the year. last year and 5% more than in 2019, the reference year, according to AECA-ITV’s record. For example, the summer of 2022 has become the summer of the past three years with the highest number of traffic accidents.

In addition to the high seniority of the cars driving on our roads, this report coincides with the one prepared by AECA-ITV, as both associations ensure that the Spanish
we interrupt when performing maintenance of our vehicles.

While there are many factors that can cause this increase in road deaths, there is one that has a direct impact: the high absenteeism rate in ITV. According to the Spanish Association of Cooperative Entities of the Administration at the Technical Inspection of Vehicles at the end of August, the percentage of vehicles circulating on the roads of the country without the technical inspection up to date is about 40%, a figure representing 13% more than recorded in the same period of 2019, when absenteeism in the ITV was around 27%.

The conclusions of the tests carried out on tracks by the Zaragoza Center Vehicle Research Institute are resounding: proper maintenance is more important for road safety than the age of a car. Not surprisingly, the braking distance of a car with worn tires
can be up to 53% higher than that of a vehicle whose wheels are in good condition, irrespective of the date of manufacture.

In this sense, the Spaniards also fall short in vehicle maintenance, as 50% of cars passing the ITV have defects on initial inspection and 1 in 5 have serious or very serious defects.

Family spending on tuning the car also suffers. Over the past 10 years, the average maintenance cost went from €625 to just €497, representing a 20% decrease, while in the Community of Madrid it went from €578 to €526.9% less.

In the past 5 years, the
serious or very serious defects They have increased significantly in the lighting system (44%), steering (34%), wheels, axles, tires and suspension (26%), engine and transmission (10%) and brakes (10%). This trend becomes stronger with age, as on the ITV cars older than 10 years are responsible for 88% of all serious tire failures and 93% of lighting failures.

According to
sea ​​garre, director general of the Fundación Línea Directa, buying a new car represents a major effort for Spanish families at a time like the current one, characterized by inflation and more expensive financing. For this reason “it is now more vital than ever that we keep our vehicles in perfect working order, that we meet the ITV within the official deadlines and that we carry out the relevant overhauls”.

In 2020, the last year with regional data available, the average age of vehicles in Madrid was 10.4 years, the lowest in the country and almost three years below the Spanish average for that year, i.e. 13.1 years (13.5 in 2021). In the rest of the communities, the oldest park can be found in Extremadura (15.1 years), Castilla-La Mancha (14.6) and Castilla y León (14.6).

the high prices,
economic uncertainty and the new technologies that make buyers hesitate to choose one type of technology over another are some of the reasons holding back the renewal of the Spanish car fleet. From Neutral In Motion (NIM), the association formed by nine of the most important automobile and vehicle associations in Spain, they assure that an inclusive mobility plan is needed to correct this shift in the aging of the vehicle fleet.

From his point of view, “governments must take into account that decarbonisation does not happen in a click”, and companies and SMEs concerned with facilitating citizens’ right to mobility “should facilitate their ecological transition.
citizens need minimal security in choosing how and where to circulate.

Therefore, they ask to establish a unitary regime for the Low Emission Zones (ZBE) that will be mandatory from January 1, 2023 in all Spanish municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. “Decarbonization requires a multimodal and sustainable mobility model, but not a vehicle-contradictory model.” It would be reasonable for NIM for the LEZs and associated restrictions to focus primarily on the most polluting park, which is also the oldest.

Source: La Verdad


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