Distractions behind the wheel or speeding are still the main factors that trigger traffic accidents. For this, Traffic has decided to aggravate the deduction of points in certain cases that pose a problem on the road, as well as alcohol or not wearing a seat belt. This is reflected in the new Traffic Law, which came into force on March 21 . Specifically, the penalties imposed for driving with a mobile phone in hand or for wearing radar inhibitors, among many others, will be higher.
According to Pere Navarro , Director General of Traffic, “it is a law that is committed to the future, since the environmental policy is incorporated into the Traffic Law, forcing road users to protect it and with express references to episodes of high pollution and low emission zones. It is also innovative because it establishes, for the first time, the regulation of the autonomous vehicle, in order to provide it with a legal framework capable of guaranteeing the requirements in relation to road safety”.
In addition to this commitment to the future, the new regulation reflects the changes that are taking place in mobility, incorporating personal mobility vehicles into the law and providing greater security for bicycle users. In addition, legal coverage is given to the accreditation of the driving license in digital format, through the MIDGT app or the use of Variable Message Panels or other technological means to give orders or instructions for traffic regulation.
In total, the new law includes more than fifty novelties . Here, we tell you the most important ones.
One of the main novelties is the prohibition of exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h to overtake. Thus, the new law states that “the possibility that passenger cars and motorcycles may exceed the speed limits on conventional roads by 20 km/h when overtaking other circulating vehicles is eliminated.” A change that has not been well received even from the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE), which considers that it has not had a scientific basis; nor from Associated European Motorists (AEA), who assure that from now on, overtaking will be a more dangerous maneuver.
It also increases the penalty for driving while holding a mobile phone in your hand from 3 to 6 points, this new law changing the word ‘use’ to ‘hold’ mobile phone devices by hand. Thus, “it increases from 3 to 6 the points to be deducted for using, holding in your hand, mobile phone devices while driving”. In fact, and since 2016, distractions at the wheel are the first cause of fatal accidents, something that the DGT wants to avoid.
The sanction will also be greater in case of not wearing a seat belt. “Increases from 3 to 4 the points to deduct for not using, or not doing it properly, the seat belt, child restraint systems, helmet and other mandatory protection elements.” Once again, everyone’s safety is at stake, since 1 in 4 people who die in traffic accidents still do not use a seat belt. On the other hand, having radar detection mechanisms or kinemometers in the vehicle, even if they are deactivated, will be a serious infraction fined 500 euros and the loss of 3 points. Interfere with radar, 6 points.
Another novelty is the authorization of the “use of certified or approved wireless devices for use in the protective helmet of motorcycle and moped drivers, for communication or navigation purposes, as long as it does not affect driving safety “. And there are also novelties regarding the safety of cyclists, “making it mandatory, on roads with more than one lane in each direction, to completely change lanes when overtaking cyclists or mopeds. In addition, it is increased from 4 to 5 the points to be deducted when passing by endangering or hindering cyclists without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5 meters. It is also prohibited to stop or park in the bike lane or on cycle paths.”
Another change is the step from serious to very serious infraction the fact of “throwing objects that can cause accidents or fires on the road or in its vicinity. This infraction supposes the loss of 6 points and the sanction of 500 euros”. Finally, and in terms of environmental policies, “a new serious infraction is introduced, with an amount of 200 euros for not respecting the traffic restrictions derived from the application of the protocols in the event of pollution episodes and low emission zones” . In addition, “the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law requires municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to establish Low Emission Zones before January 1, 2023.”