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What you need to know about Spain’s new road laws

The Local Spain
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What you need to know about Spain’s new road laws
Photos: AFP (lead), DGT

Spain is planning to lower speeds and crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel with heftier penalties. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes.


Spain’s transport authority the DGT (Directorate General of Traffic) is set to roll out a number of measures that they hope will address “road rage” and the lack of mindfulness on Spanish roads.

Their main goal is to continue to reduce road deaths in Spain, after 1,173 people lost their lives in 2018, 25 fewer than the previous year.

The following changes have not yet been inscribed in Spanish road law books but are likely to be approved in the first semester of this year and put into action soon after.

Here’s what we know so far.

Speed drop on secondary roads

Cars and motorbikes on Spain’s carreteras convencionales will have to drop their speed from 100km/h to 90km/h in most cases. Larger vehicles including buses, vans and trucks will now have to drive at 80km/h.

Carreteras convencionales, high-capacity urban roads a step down from motorways (with lanes in both directions, with and without separating barriers) are where 77 percent of fatal road accidents take place in Spain, according to 2018 DGT data.

If there is a barrier separating both directions on one of these arterial roads, the speed can be maintained at 100km/h.

But if there isn’t, a driver caught speeding at 20km/h over the speed limit will have points deducted from their license, rather than the previous 30km/h limit.

For example, anyone caught driving at 111km/h would have two points docked off their licence and have to pay a €300 fine.

The DGT will also install more speed traps and recruit more Civil Guards as traffic officers on Spanish roads in 2019.

A total of 7,000 roads in Spain will change their speed limit, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Harsher penalties for mobile users and seatbelt evaders

Anyone caught using their mobile phone at the wheel will have 6 points deducted from their license rather than the previous 3.

Drivers in Spain have 8 points on their licenses if they’re learners. After three years of experience, it’s upped to 12 points and if the driver hasn’t committed any road infractions during that period they’re eligible for 15 points.

Not wearing a seatbelt, helmet (for motorbikes) or installing a safety seat for children will now result in the loss of 4 points instead of the previous 3.

More lenient point system in return for road safety classes 

Spain’s road authority wants it to be obligatory for anyone getting their license to have to attend specific road safety classes – as is the case in 70 percent of countries in Europe - rather than just theory lessons.

Their need to promote consciousness on the part of reckless drivers is also evidenced by their plans to get a greater number of them to sit 12 to 24-hour road and speed awareness courses, depending on the severity of their actions at the wheel.

As a reward of sorts, drivers will be able to recover 8 points on their “carnet” rather the current 6 if they complete the course successfully.

The DGT also wants the time period over which offending drivers can recover all their points to be set to two years, rather than 2 for serious infringements and 3 for very serious incidents.

Cities look to put breaks on speed

The DGT along with many city halls across Spain are calling for a speed reduction in cities from the traditional 50km/h to 30km/h.

The new law would apply to one-way streets and roads with one lane in each direction.

Spain’s traffic authority has presented a public enquiry into the law change, with the suggestion being that each municipality decides if they want to drop the speed in their cities and towns.


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