Parliament has recently approved changes to the Spanish Road Safety Laws, which the government hopes will reduce the number of road traffic accidents and achieve the target of zero deaths, which has been set by Brussels. Although these new laws will not come into force before Easter 2014, the Traffic Department is working hard to finalise the modifications necessary in order to implement the changes as soon as possible. In the province of Malaga alone, 25 people died in road accidents in 2013, which was one more than the previous year, and a total of 1,128 people lost their lives on the roads of Spain, a figure that the government is determined to slash dramatically. What are the changes The main change will be one of speed restrictions, increasing the maximum speed on motorways and dual carriageways to 130 kilometres per hour and reducing the maximum speed by 10kph on normal roads. These new speed regulations will also allow for speed limits of only 20 and 30kph to be imposed in some streets. The only radar devices that are permitted under these changes are warning devices, principally those installed in GPS navigation systems. The new law expressly prohibits the use of both radar detectors and radar inhibitors, the employment of either of which will be punished with a fine of up to 6,000 Euros and the loss of as many as six points. The fine for drink driving will continue to result in a 500 euro fine and the loss of four or six points, unless the alcohol level is double the legal limit or the offender has been found driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous year, in which case the fine will be 1,000 euros. In an attempt to eradicate traffic deaths in children, stronger rules and sanctions are being put in place to protect their safety. Children will no longer be allowed to sit in the front seat of vehicles and must have suitable child restraints depending on their age and size. The police will now have the power to immobilise any cars carrying children without appropriate restraints fitted. Cyclists will also be affected by these new rules, obliging all children under the age of 16 to wear helmets no matter what type of road they are on. One of the most favourable laws to have been passed is that people will now have 20 days to pay traffic fines in order to receive a discount, instead of the current 15-day period. As a measure to locate and take action against all offenders, expats who are driving on foreign plates with non-registered vehicles will be obliged to change the registration of their plates to Spanish ones. All expats residing here should begin looking into the process of registering their car in Spain as they will have to pass an ITV, a safety inspection similar to an MOT. For more information about the taxes and registration requirements for vehicles from EU countries visit the Anglo Info website. Although there has been a great deal of debate about these new sanctions and regulations, we at Altavista Property are optimistic that any measure that will reduce the number of deaths and accidents on our roads can only be a good thing.
New Spanish traffic laws coming into force