“Substance that, lacking therapeutic action by itself, produces some favorable effect on the patient, if he receives it convinced that this substance really has such an action.” This is the definition that the RAE gives to the word ‘Placebo’. A definition that, as a metaphor, can well explain the empty boxes of the DGT radars. What are they and why are they there?
A pious lie. As a child, I have always been told that a white lie is ultimately a lie. And this is what many drivers think when they pass by a false speed camera or an empty box that should contain one of them inside.
On Spanish roads we can find radar boxes that do not contain anything inside. Absurd? The DGT thinks that these devices are a very simple way to reduce the speed of traffic with a minimal investment. A small deception that, for Traffic, offers some advantages that, however, they do not quantify.
No false myth. Empty boxes are not a false myth that runs through social networks. You may have seen a video that went viral in 2021 on Twitter in which a motorist put the camera inside an empty box to prove that there was no radar inside. This one was even tied with a chain to a kilometer post. A montage, you might have thought.
Pere Navarro himself, director of the DGT, acknowledged in 2019 that there were empty boxes that did not contain a radar. “Only the radar warning poster already has the desired effect,” he came to affirm in an interview with Europa Press collected by media such as El Confidencial.
Rotary. In fact, Navarro also pointed out in an interview in La Sexta that a third of the boxes that we find on the road are empty and that many are used so that the radars rotate between them. “Although there are people who think that there is never a radar inside, they don’t know the day they will have it. I don’t even know exactly where they are,” stressed the director of the DGT.
Proven? The DGT assures that these empty boxes serve for the driver to take his foot off the accelerator preventively, which helps to reduce speed on the road. However, there is no data to prove the effectiveness of the system and we have not found figures for the accidents or victims that the empty boxes could have prevented.
It’s not the only deception. The empty boxes of the DGT are one of the most controversial deceptions among drivers, but they are not the only ones that we find in terms of traffic. In El Confidencial they interviewed a worker in charge of programming the pedestrian buttons at traffic lights, who admitted that they don’t always work.
According to José Ángel V., the worker interviewed, these buttons do not always work or are restricted to very specific times of the day or night. However, some municipalities continue to use them, assuring that the belief that the pedestrian can stop traffic helps to avoid being run over. In fact, a police officer from A Coruña recognized during a trial for an accident of this type that the buttons at the pedestrian crossings “are a fool” and that it was not possible to know if it had worked or not in that specific case.
not convincing. Some drivers, however, are against these measures. Alleging that the possible presence of a radar increases the risk of brakingbelieve that putting empty boxes on the roads can lower speeds but increase the risks of a sudden deceleration by an absent-minded driver.
In fact, word has spread on social networks that the DGT uses the “anti-braking radar” system, after seeing it used by the Navarre Provincial Police, for which it would use a mobile radar located shortly before the fixed radar so that the offender who, however, already knows the situation of the usual cinemometer is punished. From the DGT, however, we have repeatedly denied this type of information.
Where are they? Empty or not, the DGT had a list on its own website with all the fixed radars and the most common situations of mobile speed meters. With the remodeling of its digital space, it has disappeared and they confirm that there are no forecasts that it will be uploaded again. Now, it is necessary to enter an interactive map and expand to the desired area to find the possible radar. In addition, a few days ago we told you which are the 50 radars that fine the most in Spain.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism