FROM the middle of May new speed limits will apply on many roads across Spain and it’s important to know about them as those caught speeding face steep fines.

The new speed limits have been on the cards for a while and were officially announced as part of a new traffic law published in the Official State Gazette last November with the warning that they would come into force after six months.

That means that from Tuesday May 11, 2021 you need to be aware of the new limits as they won’t always be new signs to alert drivers of change.

The new general speed limits as outlined in the Royal Decree apply to urban roads and are as follows: 

  • 20 km/h on roads that have a single lane with one way traffic and with a raised path/sidewalk. 
  • 30 km/h on roads with one lane in each direction reduced from 50km/h. 
  • 50  km/h on roads with two or more lanes per traffic direction. This speed limit remains the same except for vehicles carrying heavy or dangerous goods which must reduce their speed to 40 km/h.

Which roads will the new speed limits apply to?

The new rules apply to vías urbanas which doesn’t actually mean any roads within a town but is defined by the  Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) as “any roads that form part of the internal communications network of a settlement, as long as they are not through roads (travesías) or form part of an arterial network”, according to Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT).

So this encompasses most streets within a village, town or city unless they are major thoroughfares or ring roads.

To give you an idea, by far the majority of Spain’s roads are classified as vias urbanas, 165,600 km in fact, while travesias, which include motorways and dual carriageways, count for just 17,228 km or less than ten percent of all of Spain’s roads.

driving speed limit spain 30 photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr
The speed limit will be set at 30 on the majority of urban roads across Spain. Photo: Michael Coghlan/flickr

What are the penalties for breaking the new speed limits?

Failure by drivers to comply with the new speed limits on Spain’s urban roads will be considered a ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’ road offence by traffic authorities depending on how much over the speed limit they were caught going at. 

Fines will range from between €100 to €600 depending on how fast they were going plus the loss of up to six points on the driver’s licence.

So on a two-lane road with traffic in both directions where the maximum speed will be 30 km/h, the penalty for driving between 31 and 50 km/h will be €100.

If the driver exceeds the 50 km/h mark but doesn’t reach 60km/h, it will result in a €300 fine and the loss of two points off the driver’s licence. 

Driving between 61 and 70 km/h will land a fine of €400 and four points; and speeding at between 71 and 80 km /h will cost the driver €500 and the loss of six points. 

It is considered a ‘very serious speeding offence’ if a driver is caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h, which results in a €600 penalty and the loss of six points. 

And exceeding the speed limit in urban areas by 60 km/h is considered a crime against road safety under article 379 of Spain’s Penal Code and punishable “with a prison sentence of three to six months, or community service for 30 to 90 days, and in all cases a ban from driving vehicles of between one to four years”. 

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