New Traffic and Road Safety Law enters into force

Mar 21, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Today, Monday 21 March, the new traffic law comes into force; a law that adapts to the new times and takes another step forward in improving road safety in Spain.

According to the Director-General of Traffic, Pere Navarro, “it is a law that is committed to the future, as it incorporates environmental policy into the Traffic Law, obliging road users to protect the environment and with express references to episodes of high pollution and low emission zones. It is also innovative because it establishes, for the first time, the regulation of autonomous vehicles in order to provide them with a legal framework capable of guaranteeing road safety requirements”.

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In addition to this commitment to the future, the Law reflects the changes that are taking place in mobility, incorporating personal mobility vehicles into the Law and providing greater safety for bicycle users. In addition, legal coverage is given to the accreditation of driving licences in digital format, through the MIDGT app or the use of Variable Message Signs or other technological means to give orders or instructions for traffic regulation.

But the Law also affects the essential elements of road safety such as distractions, speed, alcohol and non-use of seat belts. This new law increases the number of points to be deducted in certain precepts, without increasing the economic amount.

To be taken into account

Distractions. The number of points to be deducted for using mobile phone devices while driving is increased from 3 to 6. Since 2016, distractions at the wheel have been the leading cause of fatal accidents.

Seat belts and protective elements. The number of points to be deducted for not using, or not using properly, seat belts, child restraint systems, helmets and other mandatory protective equipment increases from 3 to 4. 1 in 4 people killed in traffic accidents still do not wear a seat belt.
Speed. The possibility for cars and motorbikes to exceed the speed limit by 20 km/h on conventional roads when overtaking other vehicles is abolished.
2 out of 3 fatal accidents occur on conventional roads. In 2019, the reference year, there were 239 fatalities in head-on collisions on this type of road. This suppression is in line with the Safe System principle of eliminating or reducing risks and overtaking is one of them.

Alcohol. Underage drivers driving any vehicle may not drive with an alcohol level of more than 0.0, both in blood and exhaled air. This offence remains unchanged and is still classified as a very serious offence: a fine of 500 euros.

Cyclists. The safety of cyclists is increased by making it compulsory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to change lanes completely when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, the number of points to be deducted when overtaking cyclists without leaving the obligatory minimum separation of 1.5 m is increased from 4 to 6. It is also forbidden to stop or park on cycle lanes or cycle paths.

Recovery of licence points. The period of time that must elapse without committing offences that deduct points in order for a driver to recover his or her initial points balance is unified at 2 years. Until the reform of the law was passed, this period varied according to the seriousness of the offence committed. It has been simplified to make it easier to understand and communicate.

Safe and efficient driving courses. It will be possible to recover 2 licence points by taking safe and efficient driving courses. A Ministerial Order will develop the necessary requirements and the conditions that must be met. These courses are becoming consolidated as a good practice and provide additional training for drivers.

Objects on the road. From a serious to a very serious offence, throwing objects onto the road or in the vicinity of the road that could cause accidents or fires. This offence entails the loss of 6 points and a fine of 500 euros.

Motorcyclists. The use of certified or approved wireless devices is authorised for use in the protective helmet of motorbike and moped riders, for communication or navigation purposes, provided that this does not affect driving safety.

Other new features

Low Emission Zones. A new serious offence has been introduced, with a fine of 200 euros for not respecting the traffic restrictions derived from the application of the protocols for pollution episodes and low emission zones.

The Climate Change and Energy Transition Law obliges municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to establish Low Emission Zones by 1 January 2023.

Fraud in driving licence tests: The use of intercommunication devices not authorised by regulation in tests for obtaining and recovering driving licences or licences or other administrative authorisations to drive, or collaborating or assisting with the use of such devices, is introduced as a very serious offence punishable with 500 euros. In addition, the applicant may not take the licence tests again for a period of 6 months.

Anti-runaway breathalyser (alcoholic) From 6 July 2022, drivers of vehicles used for the carriage of passengers by road and fitted with an interface for the installation of anti-runaway breathalysers will be obliged to use these devices.

European legislation, Regulation (EU) 2019/2144, establishes the obligation for vehicles type-approved from 06/07/2022 and new vehicles registered from 06/07/2024 to be fitted with this interface.

All these regulatory changes are being publicised in the #NuevosTiemposNuevasNormas information campaign that the DGT is carrying out from 15 February to 21 March on radio, press, digital, social networks and on the website.