Concerns over Spain road safety

Concerns have been raised over road safety in Spain after traffic police in the country were found to be giving motorists warnings rather than fines in a dispute over pay cuts.

The unofficial action has led to concerns safety is being jeopardised after latest figures on road traffic deaths showed the highest number for the year so far was last weekend.

There was a 50% reduction in traffic tickets being handed out by traffic police in June compared with the same month last year, according to the Civil Guard.

It followed the government's announcement in May that salaries would be cut 5% as part of the austerity plan.

Official numbers for July are not yet out but news reports say the go-easy policy has continued.

The protest - which the Spanish press has called a strike of "downed pens" - is another problem for a beleaguered government whose summer was first hit by a threatened strike by air traffic controllers whose salaries were also cut in the name of fiscal discipline.

The traffic police have officially admitted they are going easy on drivers, but their boss acknowledges it is happening.

An official with the Independent Civil Guard Association, which acts like a pseudo-guild because the Civil Guard is a paramilitary organisation and cannot join a union, said the protest began spontaneously after the pay cut was announced, and then spread.

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