Pandemic curbs slash Spain's traffic deaths by 21% in 2020 to lowest on record

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid

(Reuters) - The coronavirus pandemic brought the number of traffic accident fatalities last year in Spain to its lowest since records started in 1960 as restrictions on businesses and individuals to curb the spread of the virus reduced car trips, Interior Ministry data showed on Thursday.

The number of people dying in 2020 from car accidents fell by 870, or 21%, while 3,463 people were seriously injured, the interior ministry said on Thursday, adding no fatalities were reported in the country on 59 days of the year.

“This reduction is a consequence of the (health) crisis and the mobility restrictions. The state of alert has generated a halt on the economic activity, which, linked with other factors like home working, explains a decrease of traffic and the reduction of accident rate”, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters.

From mid-March to late-June, Spanish authorities imposed one of Europe's strictest lockdowns as the country was one of the most severely hit. Restrictions on tourism from abroad during the summer further reduced car traffic.

(Reporting by Cristina Sánchez; Editing by Inti Landauro and Bernadette Baum)