On the grounds that ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’, all drivers in Spain are advised immediately to familiarise themselves with the detail of the new traffic laws which came into effect on 9 May 2014 (Ley 6/2014 modificando la Ley sobre Tráfico, Circulación de Vehículos a Motor y Seguridad Vial 339/1990); a mere 21 pages! Among the new provisions are the following:
- Speeding fines apply for exceeding the limit by just 1kph! On some motorways, the speed limit is being increased from 120kph to 130kph, but in many towns, the speed limit is being reduced from 30kph to 20kph.
- If the Guardia Civil observe a motoring offence and note the vehicle registration number, this provides sufficient evidence to prosecute - no need for them to stop vehicles.
- A minimum fine of 1,000 Euros will be payable by drivers caught driving whilst double the drink drive limit or above; or in all cases for reoffending drink drivers; and drivers under the influence of drugs.
- The Guardia Civil can seize any vehicle carrying children without legally compliant child seats.
- The very specific rules as to where children must sit in the vehicle (according to age/ height) must be observed, otherwise drivers face heavy fines.
- Cyclists under 16 years of age must wear helmets.
- Drivers have much higher duties to ensure the safety of cyclists of all ages.
- Speed camera/radar detectors are prohibited.
- An EU Directive is to be implemented so that driving offences committed in one EU country are reported to the EU country of registration of the vehicle in question.
- Much stricter rules are being implemented for the Spanish registration of foreign registered vehicles kept in Spain.
The above is by no means exhaustive. As can be seen, the new rules are far reaching. Knowledge of the details and observation of the requirements in practice is of fundamental importance.
It is clear from the increased powers to prosecute and fine drivers that the Spanish Authorities ‘mean business’ with these important legal changes.
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