The Royal Automobile Club of Spain (or RACE) runs the CIFAL Madrid centre, which, in partnership with UNITAR (the United Nations Institute for Training and Research), seeks to improve road safety around the world through training.
In existence for more than 110 years, the Royal Automobile Club of Spain forms an integral part of the history of motoring in both Spain and Europe. Our experience, technological development and certified quality mean we are a member of such highly prestigious international roadside assistance networks as ARC Europe, of which we are founding members. At present, the clubs that make up the ARC Europe network, which include RACE, provide services to over 40 million drivers by responding to more than 13,000,000 requests for assistance. This equates to one request every 2.4 seconds, and we always operate under ISO 9002 quality standards that have been officially certified since 1994.
In Spain alone, RACE offers assistance to over eight million Spanish drivers via the three 24-hour telephone response platforms located in Madrid and Cordoba, making us one of the main roadside assistance organisations in Spain. Every year, our partners respond to more than 573,000 requests for assistance with over 2.3 million calls coming through our call centres. Wherever they are in the world, our customers can enjoy excellent protection under the services provided by RACE.
However, roadside assistance is not the only service we provide. RACE also works on improving road safety and mobility by offering the latest knowledge on road safety to its users, applying the latest training technology through a group of multidisciplinary experts that often collaborates with public and private institutions on proposing solutions to traffic problems.
RACE has traditionally provided important services of public interest since the outset, collaborating on the publication of the first two editions of the Spanish Highway Code, establishing border crossings and vehicle import documents, creating the first registration plates and representing Spain in various international forums, including the FIA Foundation (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile / International Automobile Federation) and the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme / International Touring Alliance) as a member with full rights. As a result of this work, RACE has been awarded the Medal for Tourism Merit and, in 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain awarded RACE with the Gold Medal for Road Safety.
Knowing the current state of affairs is essential for responding to the problems experienced in society. For that reason, RACE has created DUCIT (the Spanish Drivers Watchdog), through which opinion studies are regularly conducted on various issues, such as mobility, safety systems, risk assessment, etc. Based on their results, we identify, assess and analyse the genuine sources of concern, worry and danger for drivers.
Through our participation with other international partners, RACE forms part of such programmes as EuroRAP (on road risk assessment); EuroTest (which analyses structures and services aimed at consumers); and the children’s safety systems assessment programme as one of over 30 members in a European consortium.
Road safety education
Educating children means training our future drivers. Through a road safety education plan, actions are taken to encourage the use of cycling helmets, the use of children’s seat belts and respect for the rules as both a pedestrian and cyclist.
Through specific events and competitions, such as the Road Safety Short Film Contest in partnership with Goodyear and involving hundreds of schools, RACE fosters actions aimed at prevention and awareness by publishing material for distribution to those centres that ask us for it.
A trained driver is a safe driver. Ongoing refresher courses on highway knowledge are necessary, as is adaptation to new highway rules and learning to use the new safety systems of vehicles.
To improve this training, RACE proposes online courses and in-person training exercises that place a special emphasis on occupational risk prevention while travelling both to and from work during the day.
RACE has a circuit in Jarama. This 3,850-metre track with 13 bends offers a space to organise sports competitions, celebrate events and train drivers. For 20 years, Jarama was the only permanent circuit in Spain, hosting F1 and major Moto GP events.
Jarama Circuit is now home to several driving academies and advanced driving schools, such as Escuela RACE and the Drivers’ Academy RACE – Red Bull, the first centre opened by Red Bull anywhere in the world to improve safety for young people.
The results from research must be publicly communicated to raise awareness among road users. For this reason, results must be offered to society, institutions and the media on the advancements made in terms of traffic and road safety. RACE conducts awareness campaigns of interest to road users by launching preventive messages and highlighting issues that affect safety.
On the one hand, these communication actions seek to highlight traffic problems and offer solutions. On the other hand, they provide a source of social debate by raising such issues as distraction at the wheel, senior drivers, new road users and renewal of vehicle fleets or infrastructures, among others.