The Board of Ministers approved a reduction in the speed limit on Tuesday the 10th, effectively dropping the maximum speed from 50kph to 30kph.
This urban, speed limit will only affect single-lane traffic in either direction; in other words, a street 2-way, single-lane traffic. Obviously, this includes single-lane, one-way streets.
This change was announced by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, at a press call following the cabinet meeting. He explained that this restriction would better the chance of survival by about five times for a pedestrian hit by a car.
The Dirección General de Tráfico has been working on this new Reglamento de Circulación (Highway Code) for the last two years – it’s taken so long because of the string of general elections in that period, as well as the pandemic.
The new regulations sets out three speed limits on urban roads: 20kph for single-lane traffic with a pedestrian pavement on the same level as the lane (a semi-pedestrian street in the centre of Motril for example), 30kph for single-lane traffic in each direction with a pavement and 50kph for two or more lanes of traffic in one direction.
However, these new speed limits will not come into immediate effect, but rather six months after they have been published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) so that citizens have time to “get to know them little by litte,” explained Sr. Marlaska.
The new, road regulations do not only deal with new speed limits, but also with stiffer fines for several traffic offences. For instance, having a speed-trap detector in your vehicle will automatically mean a 500-euro fine plus a loss of three points off your licence. It doesn’t matter that it’s not being used; i.e., that it is switched off. The reasoning is that it is illogical to have one in your car and never use it, therefore merely having one onboard is a finable offence.
Another point is being able to exceed the speed limit on a conventional road by 20kph when over taking. As this has been eliminated in every country belonging to the EU – Spain was the only country where it was permitted- it has been dropped. This means that if you are on a conventional road where the car in front is doing 90kph, you cannot accelerate to 110kph to get past it; in other words, you can’t overtake whilst the other car maintains that speed.
As for mobile-phone usage whilst driving, the loss of points has been raised from three to six points and if anybody in the vehicle is not wearing a seatbelt, it’s four points off the driver’s licence.