Earlier this week, the Spanish Congress passed the Traffic Law reform, and with it 20 new regulations. Some will come into force a month and one day after they are published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE), and the rest will become the law in June.
Below is a summary of the main changes:
- Helmets for cyclists under the age of 16 only will be obligatory when cycling in town. Failure to do so will incur a fine of 200 euro, to be paid by the child’s parents or guardian.
- If cyclists commit an infraction, they can be fined but their bike cannot be taken away from them.
- Cyclists will be able to drive below the minimum speed limits. At the moment, drivers and cyclists must not drive at a speed that is 50% lower than the maximum. For example, if the speed limit is 80km/hr, it would be extremely difficult for some cyclists to go at 40km/hr. With the new law they will be able to cycle at a lower speed. They are still not allowed on motorways, however.
- There will be a new speed limit of up to 130km/hr on certain stretches of the motorway, and a reduction of 10km/hr on secondary roads.
- Speed radar detectors will be banned. Anyone caught using them will be fined 200 euro and have 3 points taken off their licence. As for radar jammers, or inhibitors, their use is considered much more serious and brings with it a fine of 6,000 euro and the loss of 6 points. Only radar warning devices will be legal.
- Instead of being judged by weight and age, the new regulation states that children under the height of 1m 35cm must not travel in the front seat next to the driver. The exception would be if shorter children than the one in the front occupied all of the seats in the back of the car, or the car doesn’t have seats in the back! Failure to comply with this law will incur a 200 euro fine and the vehicle can be immobilised.
Drugs and alcohol
- The fine for drink driving remains at 500 euro. However, offenders caught twice over the limit or more or re-offenders caught in twice in one year will have to pay a fine of 1,000 euro.
- It will now be illegal to drive with illegal substances (drugs) in your body. A 1,000 euro fine will be given to those who take a saliva test which subsequently shows positive for drugs in the system. Traces of drugs usually remain in the body for a few days, so even if offenders didn’t take them on the day of driving, they could face a hefty fine if caught. Pedestrians can also be asked to take alcohol and drugs test if they are in the street and disturbing the peace and committing an infraction.
- Carrying out road works will be considered a serious offence if prior notice is not given to the authorities that deal with traffic.
- If a load or cargo falls from a vehicle and onto the road, causing danger to other drivers, this will be sanctioned accordingly as a serious offence.
- Up until now, drivers with foreign cars only had to comply with tax regulations. Now, all foreign cars must register their cars in Spain – so that it is easier to sanction them.
- Impeding driving schools from working and driving on the road will be considered an offence.
- Traffic police officers will be able to hand out sanctions without stopping the driver’s car if he is unable to chase them and stop them.
- Whether traffics laws have been complied with or not, anyone that runs over a hunting animal will be responsible for the damages on the car.
- The time given to pay a traffic fine with a discount of 50% or to appeal will increase from 15 to 20 days.
- It will be prohibited to de-register cars when the owner wants to take them abroad if they do not pass security and environment regulations.
- Tow trucks that act in an emergency to offer help will be given priority and should be treated as an emergency service.
- Cancer sufferers will have fewer restrictions placed on them for driving. Currently, cancer patients are allowed to drive in very few instances. Due to medical improvements, this law will change.
- It will be an offence to damage road signs or other infrastructure due to the dimensions of the driver’s vehicle (if it’s too big).
- The procedure to make it possible to swap traffic offence information with other countries is being prepared.