Saturday. 28.01.2023

New Spanish Road Traffic Act comes into force with new sanctions

With the new regulations, the number of driving license points to be deducted in certain infractions is increased
A Civil Guard police officer performs a traffic control. Photo: Twitter/@guardiacivil
A Civil Guard police officer performs a traffic control. Photo: Twitter/@guardiacivil

On Monday 21 March, the new Spanish road traffic law comes into force.

The government says that the amendments introduced in the law are intended to adapt the regulations "to the new times" and "continue advancing in improving road safety in Spain."

The law reflects the changes that are taking place in mobility, incorporating personal mobility vehicles and providing greater security for bicycle users.

In addition, the accreditation of the driving license in digital format is given a legal nature.

The law also affects the essential elements of road safety such as distractions, speed, alcohol and not wearing a seat belt. With the new regulations, the number of points to be deducted in certain infractions is increased, without increasing the economic amount of the fines, says the Ministry of the Interior.

The sanctions

  • Distractions. Increases from 3 to 6 the points to be deducted for using, holding in your hand, mobile phone devices while driving.
  • Safety belt and protection elements. Sanctions increase from 3 to 4 the points to be deducted for not using, or not using it properly, the seat belt, child restraint systems, helmet and other mandatory protection elements.
  • Speed. 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.
  • Alcohol. Underage drivers who drive any vehicle may not circulate with an alcohol level greater than 0.0, both in blood and in expired air. It is an infraction that does not change, it is still typified as very serious: 500-euros fine.
  • Cyclists. The safety of cyclists is increased by making it mandatory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to completely change lanes when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, the points to be deducted when overtaking endangering or hindering cyclists without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5 m are increased from 4 to 6. Stopping or parking in bike lanes or on cycle paths is also prohibited.
  • Recovery of license points. The period that has to elapse without committing infractions that deduct driving license points so that a driver can recover his initial balance of points is unified in 2 years. Until the approval of the reform of the Law, this period varied depending on the seriousness of the infraction committed. 2 points can be recovered after taking driving courses.
  • Objects on the road. Throwing objects on the road or in its vicinity that can cause accidents or fires goes from a serious offense to a very serious one. This infraction supposes the loss of 6 points and a 500-euros fine.
  • Motorcyclists. The use of certified or approved wireless devices is authorized for use in the protective helmet of motorcycle and moped drivers, for communication or navigation purposes, provided that it does not affect driving safety.

Other changes

  • Low Emission Zones. A new serious infraction is introduced, with an 200-euros fine for not respecting the traffic restrictions derived from the application of the protocols in the event of pollution episodes and low emission zones. The Spanish Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition requires municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to establish Low Emission Zones before 1 January 2023.
  • Fraud in the driving license tests: It is introduced, as a very serious offense punished with a 500-euros fine, the use of non-authorized intercommunication devices in the tests for obtaining or recovering driving permits or licenses. In addition, the applicant will not be able to take the tests again to obtain the permit within a period of 6 months.
  • Anti-start breathalyzer (alcoholock): From July 6, 2022, drivers of vehicles intended for the transport of passengers by road that have an interface for the installation of anti-start breathalyzers, will be obliged to use these devices.

New Spanish Road Traffic Act comes into force with new sanctions