Spain deploys drones to fine drivers
They will also target areas with more vulnerable road users, like schools and cyclists, and watch for driving distractions.
The department’s 12 Pegasus helicopters already provide a similar service.
The authorities said the drones would help during special events and emergency situations that required immediate action. Drones are often a headache for the security services, raising fears of assassination attempts or terrorist attacks during events.
The DGT currently has 11 small drones, and only three of them are certified by the Spanish Metrology Centre. Twenty more drones are being ordered by the agency.
“In the early days of August, the three [certified] drones will be in the Canaries, where we don’t have helicopters, so we can cover things,” a DGT spokesman said. “After that they’ll be sent wherever they’re needed. There’s no set plan yet. The other eight will also be deployed wherever they’re needed, depending on traffic flows.”
The Civil Guard traffic staff will be notified when a drone captures a traffic violation. The authorities say an officer will respond if someone is available or a fine will be issued to the driver.
The DGT began to use three drones last April above the A1 motorway around Madrid and the A6 at Tordesillas in Valladolid.
The agency says the drones can monitor 160,000km of road.
The drones have an operating altitude of up to 120 metres and are equipped with a high-definition camera that can monitor a 7km range but they can only fly for 20 minutes.
Around 47 million long-distance trips are expected to be made in Spain this month, a 1.6-per-cent rise from last year.
“Although August 1 is still the day when thousands of people begin their holidays, recent years have seen people choosing to break up their vacations and enjoy shorter periods away,” the DGT told the media. “That’s why the DGT will be deploying special traffic teams every weekend during the summer to assist drivers with their needs.”
The DGT has launched a special summer operation, which includes the drones, aimed at improving security and easing congestion. There will also be intensified checks on the use of alcohol and drugs for drivers.
Picture credit: Wikimedia