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MAP: The trick to find out where Spain’s invisible speed cameras are

Did you know there's a legal way to find out where Spain's so-called invisible speed cameras are located in order to avoid hefty traffic fines?

MAP: The trick to find out where Spain's invisible speed cameras are
Using a phone app to have an approximate idea of where as speed camera is located is legal in Spain. Photo: Lynda Sanchez/Pixabay

In 2018, Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic rolled out the latest speed camera technology, the velolásers, also referred to as radares invisibles (invisible speed cameras), given that they’re very difficult to spot. 

These small devices, which measure just 50 centimetres in width and weigh about two kilograms, are placed on tripods or attached to road signs. You won’t necessarily spot them by the side of the road either, as they detect vehicles between 15 and 50 metres away. 

They’re wireless, completely autonomous and are capable of recording speeds ranging from 30 km/h to 250 km/h.

While we’re not encouraging that any of our readers who drive in Spain surpass the speed limit or don’t follow the road rules, you can end up paying €100 if you momentaneously go over the limit by a few kilometres.  

So where are these so-called invisible speed cameras that number at least 40 in Spain?

The following map shows you where they are:

A map screenshot of so-called invisible speed cameras across Spain. Source: SocialDrive

As you can see, most of them are in the Galician cities of A Coruña and Lugo, in Albacete in central Spain, Madrid, Valladolid and Asturias, as well as several others spread around mainland Spain. 

This information is available thanks to an app called SocialDrive, which has created a map for Google Maps that you can access in interactive format here

Each mapped speed camera includes detailed information and often a photo if you click on the icon. 

This has been added by the thousands of SocialDrive users in Spain who have real-life experience of having been fined by the veloláser cameras, intel which is then verified by SocialDrive administrators.

The app also allows users to know where police controls are taking place in Spain, if they have any traffic fines pending or if there are traffic jams up ahead.

SocialDrive is completely legal, and even though the DGT has tried to dissuade users from having this kind of information, Spanish traffic authorities have acknowledged that giving an approximate location of a speed camera isn’t illegal (pinpointing the exact position is).

Having a speed camera detector device or jammer installed in the car, sharing images of police checkpoints and police vehicles are punishable offences.

The SocialDrive app is available on iOS and Android.

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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.