On 20th March 2014 the Spanish government approved the new Road Traffic Act with a number of major changes. These changes came into force 9th May.
The key changes are summarised below;
- Foreign drivers who are residents in Spain are now obliged to register their vehicles in Spain.
- Zero tolerance to alcohol and drug abuse. The fine for driving under the influence of illegal drugs will increase to €1,000 and this will be detected by a saliva test. There are some exceptions for prescription drugs such as methadone. The current maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol will remain at €500 but should the driver double the permitted rate (0.5 mg per litre of exhaled air or 0.3mg for novice & professional drivers) or get caught again within a 12 month period the fine would be €1,000.
- Children less than 1.35m tall (it was previously children under 12 years old) are not allowed to travel in the front seat, not even with the child restraint system. This also applies when travelling in a taxi, although the penalty (€200) is to be paid by the parent or guardian.
- The voluntary period to pay fines with a discount will be increased from 15 to 20 days.
- It will be compulsory to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle within a city or town for those under 16 years of age.
- Radar speed detectors are prohibited and the use of them will be punished with a fine of €200 and the loss of 3 points. However, it is still legal to use devices (avisadores) which provide information on the location of fixed cameras.
- Speed limit will remain at 120km per hour on motorways although could be increased to 130km per hour in certain areas and circumstances.
- The new law allows authorities to restrict the traffic in certain areas to reduce pollution.
- The changes include an agreement between the EU countries to exchange information about traffic offences committed in a member state by a vehicle registered in a different member state. This covers the offences of speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, using the phone and not wearing the belt or helmet.
In the event of collision with a game animal the driver is always responsible for the accident, unless it can be proven there were no proper warning signals or the fence was in poor condition. This means that in case of death or disability of the driver or occupants they wouldn’t receive any compensation as they would be deemed to be responsible for the accident.