Changes are coming to Spanish roads with the new reform of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety.
Some of these changes will affect the procedures for obtaining a driving license, but others are more striking and have more immediate effects for those who are already drivers of cars and motorcycles.
The change introduced that has generated more heated discussions means that in the future, when overtaking other vehicles on conventional (single-lane) roads, vehicles will not be able to exceed the maximum speed allowed by up to 20 kilometers per hour, as before, without risking to receive a fine.
The Plenary of the Senate, the upper house of the Spanish Parliament, approved this modification at the request of the socialist group (PSOE), which introduced an amendment to the traffic bill.
Socialists argue that allowing drivers to exceed the speed limit to overtake other vehicles is a remnant from the laws of the 70s, when the use of the car was encouraged. They say that today it does not make sense and they also emphasize that it is not in force in other neighboring countries.
Doubts about safety
Proponents of the amendment argue that encouraging overtaking is against road safety.
However, the main right-wing opposition parties (PP and Vox) disagree. They argue that eliminating the extra margin of 20 km / hour will only serve to impose more fines, and to ensure that many of the fined drivers cannot file appeals against the sanctions.
They also doubt that the mandatory slowdown will make overtaking maneuvers safer. They argue that the slower speed will make the vehicles take much longer to complete the maneuver, which in their opinion could increase the risks.
This argument is also supported by some motorist associations and companies in the automobile sector.
Entry into force
The reform of the traffic law was approved by the Senate on Wednesday. Because the bill has been amended, it must now be returned to the lower house of Parliament (Congreso de los Diputados) to receive the final approval.
After that happens, and after the publication of the final text in the Official State Gazette (BOE), it will take six months to enter into force.