Changes in existing regulations will see a uniform application of (fixed) fines, regardless of which authority is imposing the sanction, and a 50 per cent reduction (as opposed to 30 per cent) in the event of prompt payment of said fines. Guardia Civil traffic officers will also carry a technology allowing drivers to pay on the spot fines by credit card if they so wish
From the beginning of 2010 the Spanish department of traffic will introduce new fixed distance speed traps, which are to be placed in traffic black spots throughout the country..
The new system works with two radars in place between two fixed points. The time it takes to travel from one spot to another is pre-determined, so any vehicle that does the distance in a shorter time, having exceeded the speed limit at some point in the journey, will be automatically sanctioned. The length of road will be between three and five kilometres and the special radar cameras will be able to record car registrations and the exact time of the incident with a high level of precision

The government have also just approved new points reductions (see chart on this page) as well as introducing higher fines for certain crimes – for instance possession of radar detection equipment which previously carried a fine of €150 could now see you €6,000 worse off.

Hang up
Mobiles as dangerous as drink driving

There will be a series of TV and radio ads as well as increased vigilance by police on roads throughout Spain designed to alert people to the dangers of talking on the phone while behind the wheel of a car.

According to the depart¬ment inappropriate use of your phone while driving increases by four the risk of an accident – similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. There is also, say the experts, a false perception that use of the hands free apparatus means there is no distraction – evidence shows that a driver involved in a conversation of over a minute and a half will have reduced levels of concentration. Studies show this could lead to a 40 per cent reduction in attention to road signs, speed drops by up to 12 per cent, the heart rate accelerates rapidly during the phone call and reaction times are slower, “behavioural traits that combined could lead to an accident”

New points reduction chart
The following are the new points reductions as passed recently by the Spanish government.

6 points
• Driving under the influence of alcohol: 50mg/l private drivers, +25mg/l professionals and drivers with less than two years experience
• Driving under the influence of drugs
• Refusing to take drink/drug test
• Driving carelessly, in the wrong direction, taking part in illegal road races/competitions
• Using or carrying instruments that would inhibit traffic officers, such as radar inhibitors
• Exceeding commercial transport driving time by over 50 per cent/resting for less than 50 per cent of established time
• Manipulation/participation in the manipulation of a tachograph

4 points
• Driving under the influence of alcohol: 25mg/l – 50mg/l private drivers, 15mg/l – 30mg/l professionals and drivers with less than two years experience
• Driving with a licence inappropriate for the vehicle
• Throwing onto the road objects with could ignite a fire, cause traffic accidents, impede free circulation of traffic
• Ignore give way or stop signs or traffic light signals
• Ignore norms regarding overtaking on roads thus placing other drivers in danger, overtaking where there is reduced visibility
• Endangering/hindering cyclists during overtaking
• Reversing on a motorway
• Ignoring a traffic officer’s instructions/signals
• Failure to leave appropriate braking distance between you and the vehicle in front
• Driving on motorways in vehicles that are not licenced for these roads
• Driving a car exceeding by more than 50 per cent the allowed number of passengers, except for buses in urban/inter-urban areas

3 points
• Wearing headgear/headphone while driving or using a hand held mobile phone, navigator or other medium of communication. (This list may be updated in line with technological advances)
• Failure to wear seatbelt, use child seats or other protective apparatus where appropriate
• Making illegal u-turns; Failure to comply with mandatory traffic signs at junctions/u-turn points
• Driving a vehicle that is not licenced to be on the road/that you are not permitted to drive

2 points
• Stopping or parking on bends, in tunnels, intersections or other dangerous areas which would cause a risk to the flow of traffic and pedestrians
• Stopping or parking in zones designated for public transport
• Driving without lights when it is obligatory or failure to use lights in accordance with regulations
• Driving a motorbike/scooter with passengers under 12 years of age (some exceptions apply)
• Driving in a negligent manner, creating risks for other road users
• Speeding. The amount of points to be deducted depends on the speed limits exceeded and by how much