Asphalt's Victims

According to the Society for the Maintenance of the Vertebrates, published in the Tráfico Magazine, more than 30 million of vertebrates are dying in Spain because a car runs over them. The habits of the animals influence in a great deal this fact: some of them get scared and stay still when they see a vehicle, some are looking for food (carcasses) on the road’s verges. Besides, the path of a scared or injured animal is unpredictable.

Pet animals (dogs, cats, sheep, and at a lesser extent, caws), are involved in 64% of the accidents, the remaining 36% is caused by wild animals, especially, wild boars, deer, and roe deer. Most of the accidents take place when there is little light, and increase at weekends. Part of these asphalt’s victims are amphibians, especially toads and frogs, above all between March and April. Four millions are reptiles, and the bastard snake is the most damaged, especially between June and August. It is estimated that 12 million birds dye on our roads every year, above all sparrows, but also there are many birds of prey that use to hunt at the roads’ edges.

The General Traffic Regulation establishes that pet animals’ owners are the responsible of the damage caused, and the Civil Code reiterates and adds that it will be their responsibility although the animal is escaped or missing. The Penal Code will be required in the case the accident causes injured or dead people.
About the measures to prevent this kind of accidents, the Ministry of Public Works has already taken some measures like the deforestation of the roads’ edges that helps visualize animals, the barriers impregnated with a substance with dissuasive effect for many animals, and reflecting barriers in both sides of the road or canes fences.
Additionally, the Platform of Road Security and Biodiversity suggests some measures that could be very effective: compulsory identification of all the animals and sterilization of the non-reproducers, collection of the animals on the road by specialised staff, adaptation of road structures, shelters and medical assistance, and a social recycling of the animals aimed at helping disabled people.

This is not a small problem, I personally know four people who had accidents with animals (three of them with dogs, and the other one with a wild boar). Besides, the serious danger that this fact represents for driving is a real tragedy that is repeated every year in our roads and affects not only pet animals, but also endangered ones.

Av. Costa Cálida Nº 31 - CP 30860 Puerto de Mazarrón (Murcia)