Spanish traffic laws have changed from today, Thursday, December 2, after the Plenary of Congress definitively gave the green light to the bill that modifies the revised text of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Safety. This comes after the Senate took a vote on the amendments submitted. This is the 19th such amendment to the laws of the road in Spain.
These new amendments will come into force three months after they are published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), although some will come in immediately. This modifies the Traffic Law of 2015.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the Spanish Interior Minister said in Congress, “In this country, we can feel proud of having faced road safety for fifteen years, making a safe system. In these fifteen years, we have become the country with the third-fewest deaths, and serious injuries in Europe. But the time had come to reform, to enter the 21st century, and to continue advancing, protecting the lives of our citizens”.
The Plenary of the Senate approved the controversial socialist amendment that eliminates the margin of an additional 20km/h while overtaking on conventional roads. This action has been censured by driving associations such as RACE, who said, ” It involves tripling the time to carry out the manoeuvre, and a driver will spend more than twice the distance necessary to travel on the oncoming lane”.
In a previous process, the Senate had modified Article 62 of the text sent by Congress. This allowed theoretical ‘online’ training for drivers, and that the centres could have a single physical location with which to operate throughout Spain.
The green light was given to a new additional provision that provides that, “awareness and sensitization courses may be established, which may also be taught online as long as it is ensured interaction through a virtual classroom”, to obtain a driving licence. The final content and structure of this will be determined by regulation after consultation with road safety experts, as well as victims’ associations.
More points will be lost on licences
Deduction of licence points was increased from 4 to 6 for throwing objects that may cause fires or accidents, as well as on the road or in its vicinity. The same applies to overtaking, endangering, or hindering cyclists, without leaving a minimum separation of 1.5 metres of distance.
An increase from 3 to 6 points is made in relation to carrying a mobile phone in the hand while driving. Also, from 3 to 4 for not using the seat belt, and incorrect use of child restraint systems. Four points are also lost for not following the mandatory helmet use, and other protection elements, for users of personal mobility vehicles, such as scooters.
A new feature of the law is that drivers taking and passing courses on safe and efficient driving can retrieve two points. The necessary requirements and the conditions that must be met will be decided in a Ministerial order.
Radar detection devices
The existing serious offence of “using radar or cinemometer detection mechanisms”, has now been replaced with the three points loss for simply “carrying” these devices in the vehicle.
From July 6, 2022, anti-snatch breathalysers will be mandatory in goods transport vehicles. Stronger controls will be regulated against alcohol and drugs use by drivers. Young people will also be subject to a ‘zero alcohol’ policy while in control of any vehicle.
Another new ‘serious offence’ has been introduced. It carries a €200 fine and relates to not respecting the circulation restrictions derived from the application of the protocols in the event of pollution episodes and low emission areas.
Motorcycle and moped drivers are authorised to use certified or approved wireless devices in their helmets, for communication or navigation purposes, as long as they are not deemed to affect safe driving.
A €500 penalty is introduced as a fine for using intercommunication devices not authorised by regulation in tests to obtain or recover driving permits, licences, or other administrative authorisations to drive. Applicants found guilty of this will also not be able to present themselves for said tests again, within a period of 6 months.