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  • Writer's pictureMark Tullett

Driving changes

Amendments to Spanish Road Traffic Act that come into force in March The new law will tighten some sanctions and modify the rules for overtaking on conventional roads

The objective of this amendment is to update several precepts of the law that regulates the Spanish licence points system.

In addition, during the parliamentary process, other articles of the Law have been modified at the proposal, most of them, of the parliamentary groups. Among other changes, the new regulation eliminates the possibility that passenger cars and motorcycles can exceed the speed limits on conventional roads by 20 km/h when overtaking other vehicles. In addition, 6 licence points will be deducted for using or holding a mobile phone at the wheel and 4 for not using a seat belt.

According to the central government, the new Spanish traffic rules will come into force on 21 March 2022. The main changes

  • Distractions. The new act increases from 3 to 6 the licence points to be deducted for using or holding mobile phone devices while driving. Since 2016, distractions at the wheel are the first cause of fatal accidents. The proliferation of social networks, dependence on mobile phones and immediacy are harmful elements while driving, therefore the points to deduct are increased, keeping the penalty at 200 euros.

  • Safety belt and protection elements. It increases from 3 to 4 the licence points to deduct for not using, or not using it properly, the seat belt, child restraint system, helmet and other mandatory protection elements. The same penalty of 200 euros is maintained. 1 out of every 4 deaths in a traffic accident is still not wearing a seat belt.

  • More safety for cyclists. The safety of cyclists is increased by making it mandatory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to change lanes when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, the licence points to be deducted when overtaking endangering or hindering cyclists without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5 meters are increased from 4 to 6. The amount of 200 euros of the fine is maintained. Stopping or parking in bike lanes or on cycle paths is also prohibited.

  • Objects on the road. The reform increases from 4 to 6 the licence points to deduct for throwing objects that can cause accidents or fires onto the road or in its vicinity.

  • Unification of the period to recover the points of the card. Two years without committing infractions is the term that has to pass before a driver can recover his initial balance of points. Until the approval of the reform, this period varied depending on the seriousness of the infraction committed. It has been simplified, so that it is easier to understand and communicate, the government says.

  • Safe and efficient driving courses. 2 licence points can be recovered from the license for taking safe and efficient driving courses. A Ministerial order will develop the necessary requirements and the conditions that must be met.

  • Minors, alcohol and drugs. Underage drivers of any vehicle (mopeds, AM permit, motorcycles up to 125 cc, bicycles and personal mobility vehicles) may not circulate with an alcohol level greater than zero, both in blood and in expired air.

  • Anti-start breathalyser (Alcoholock) mandatory for passenger transport vehicles by road that are registered after 6 July 2022. These vehicles are required to have an interface for the installation of these devices. This is a measure demanded by the road passenger transport sector.

  • Overtaking. The possibility that passenger cars and motorcycles may exceed the speed limits on conventional roads by 20 km/h when overtaking other vehicles is eliminated. Two out of every three fatal accidents occur on conventional roads. In 2019, the reference year, there were 239 fatalities in head-on collisions on conventional roads.

Other changes

  • Motorcycles. The use of certified or approved wireless devices is authorized for use in the helmet of motorcycle and moped drivers, for communication or navigation purposes, provided that it does not affect driving safety.

  • Restrictions in Low Emission Zones. A new serious infraction is introduced, with a fine of 200 euros for not respecting the traffic restrictions derived from the application of the protocols in the event of pollution episodes and low emission zones.

  • Cheating on exams to get a driver's licence. It is introduced, as an infraction with a penalty of 500 euros, the use of intercommunication devices not authorized by regulation in the tests for obtaining or recovering driving permits or licences or other administrative authorizations to drive. Collaboration or assistance with the use of said devices will also be punished. In addition, the applicant will not be able to take the tests again to obtain the permit within a period of 6 months.

  • Autonomous driving. For the first time, reference to the automated vehicle is included in Spanish legislation, in several articles of the Road Traffic Act.

Details copied from The Nomad Today website

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