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Spain's road lords 'play dirty' to cash in €1M/day

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Spain's road lords 'play dirty' to cash in €1M/day
Are drivers being ‘hunted down' while at the wheel on Spanish roads? Photo of speeding car: Shutterstock
13:05 CEST+02:00
Spanish road authorities have reduced the speed margin on cameras without warning drivers in a bid to meet their target of pocketing a staggering €384 million ($496M) in fines by the end of 2014.

Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) failed to make it public knowledge that speed cameras across the country are now taking a register of vehicles over the speed limit by 8km/h, whereas before it was 12 to 15km/h.

According to Spanish daily La Voz de Galicia, scores of drivers have been fined on roads they are familiar with and previously knew at what speed to go at to avoid penalties.

And so, even though the number of drivers and accidents on the road in 2014 has gone down compared to previous years, the Spanish State has seen its profits from road fines surge thanks to the DGT’s money-making tactics.

Their ‘earnings’ were only made public in July when a socialist group raised the matter in the Spanish Parliament, DGT representatives announcing they had made €183 million from January 1st to July 14th.

National daily ABC raised the question: “Are drivers being ‘hunted down’ while at the wheel on Spanish roads?”

“We have more urgent priorities to find a solution to than speeding, such as distractions, fatigue, drug consumption at the wheel and the safety distance between vehicles,” a spokesperson for the Royal Automobile Club of Spain told ABC.

“The first three points I made account for more than 1,000 lives lost every year.”

Aside from the so-called ‘camouflaged’ speed cameras being a reason for the hike in fines, a law introduced by Spain’s previous Socialist government offers drivers the chance to slash their penalty by half if they pay quickly.

“Drivers used to prefer appealing the fine to defend their rights, now they decide to just cough up the money to pay half,” the European Automobile Commission added.

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