SPAIN’S revised Traffic and Road Safety Law (BOE) comes into effect on March 21 but has already made headlines for its harsher penalties.
Not that Spain’s Direccion General de Trafico (DGT) department is trying to hide the fact.
The new law states an interest in ramping up the severity of infractions that deduct licence points – making them deduct even more points than ever before.
“The Traffic and Road Safety law will change because the way we move has also changed, and we need to find a form of mobility that’s safer, more efficient and respectful,” a Tweet from the DGT reads.
Below are the top six reforms that could see you quickly lose your newfound Spanish licence.
1. Using a mobile phone while driving in Spain
Neatly 400 people are killed in Spain every year due to drivers distracted with mobile phones.
Between 2014-2019, Spanish road safety laws deducted 2.8 million licence points from drivers caught on their devices while driving.
But in 2022 laws regulating mobile phone penalties get even tougher.
Drivers can now lose 6 points from their licences (from a maximum of 12) if caught using a phone while driving – as well as receiving a €200 fine.
This is an increase from 4 points deducted under previous DGT laws.
According to a study by the University of Valencia, the profile of mobile phone users are aged 18-24 and overwhelmingly caught at traffic lights or in traffic jams
2. Throwing a cigarette butt while driving in Spain
At least 3% of all forest fires in Spain are caused by drivers throwing a cigarette butt from their windows.
Strict law reforms in Spain have turned this traffic infraction into a criminal offence punishable with up to 6 years in prison.
The maximum penalty was suggested as recently as 2021 after a cigarette butt reportedly sent 410 hectares of Catalunya forest in flames outside Gerona.
Fines also range between €200-€9800 for the offence of causing a forest fire.
Malaga’s provincial prosecutor sought 11 months in prison and €3,600 in fines from a British expat in 2011 after accidentally burning 1.4 hectares of land, for example.
New DGT laws in 2022 will deduct 6 points (instead of 4) from the licence of a driver who throws objects that can cause fire or accident from a car window.
3. Keeping distance with cyclists when driving in Spain
Cyclists are common on the Spanish coastlines all through the year.
Many professional bicycle racing teams even relocate to Spain for group training, to take advantage of the warmer winter temperatures and breathtaking views.
But very few rural Spanish roads are equipped for cyclists.
New DGT laws in 2022 focus on penalties for drivers who threaten the safety of cyclists.
From March 21 you can lose 6 points for not keeping 1.5m distance when overtaking cyclists on a single-carriageway.
Where roads have two or more lanes in the same direction, drivers must overtake in a separate lane to cyclists or lose points.
Cars are also prohibited from parking on bicycles paths or lanes.
4. Driving without a seatbelt in Spain
Other laws to see greater deductions in points revolve around seatbelts and other equipment-related road safety concerns.
Drives can now lose 4 points (instead of 3) for driving without a seatbelt in Spain.
The same 4 point deduction extends to driving a motorbike without a helmet or not securing an infant properly in a carseat.
5. Can’t exceed speed limit to overtake anymore
One of the most controversial aspects of the new Ley de Trafico y Seguridad Vial concerns speed limit exemptions.
Currently in Spain drivers are permitted to go 20kmh over a speed limit when overtaking other cars.
But as of March 21 in 2022, this exemption will be scrapped completely.
This means that drivers are not permitted under any circumstances to exceed a road’s speed limit.
6. Using a radar detector or laser jammer in Spain
Drivers found with any kind of radar detector or inhibitor or police laser jammer will be fined €500.
These drivers will also lose 3 points on their licence.
The DGT’s new laws in 2022 state the penalty applies even if a device is not connected at the time of discovery by police.
This covers the most important amendments to Spain’s new Trafico laws in 2022.
Spanish licences have 12 points – any losses can be recovered by attending road safety classes, though new 2022 laws will grant drivers licence points back after two years of driving without further point deductions.
Meanwhile, British citizens in Spain are still waiting on an extension for mandatory driving tests to get a Spanish licence post-Brexit.
UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott asked for an extra grace period to the current end-of-February deadline.
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