A new set of traffic laws and fines come into force in Spain on Monday March 21st 2022, including changes to overtaking, electric scooters and alcohol limits.
Spain’s DGT traffic authority is trying to reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents caused by distractions at the wheel, the reason for road deaths in 31 percent of cases in the country.
Driving while holding your mobile phone in your hand now results in the loss of six points from your driving licence, three more than previously.
As for the fine, it’s still €200 as well as the loss of three points if the driver uses their mobile but doesn’t have it in their hand.
It remains legal to use wireless or other approved devices if they don’t involve the use of hands or helmets or headphones.
Motorcyclists can have such devices on their helmets for communication or navigation purposes, as long as they’re not a safety risk. However, this doesn’t include keeping a mobile phone device lodged between the helmet and your head while driving, an offence which carries the loss of three points.
Throwing objects on the road such as cigarette butts will carry a penalty of 6 points and a €200 to €500 fine, instead of the previous 4 points.
Not wearing a seatbelt
Not using your seat belt or doing it incorrectly will be punished with a €200 fine and the loss of 4 points; one more than previously.
According to the DGT, one in four deaths in traffic accidents in Spain are people who were not wearing a seatbelt.
Overtaking bicycles and mopeds
It will be mandatory to change lanes when overtaking cyclists or moped users on roads with more than one lane in each direction.
Endangering or hindering cyclists when overtaking or without leaving the mandatory minimum separation of 1.5 metres will now result in the loss of six points from one’s driving licence rather than four. The fine will continue to be €200.
Stopping or parking your vehicle in a bus lane or a cycle path will now also be considered a serious violation and could result in the same penalty as for not overtaking cyclists properly.
Half of the 1,370 people who died in traffic accidents in Spain in 2020 were pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.
Overtaking on secondary roads
It is no longer possible to surpass the speed limit of carreteras convencionales (secondary roads) by up to 20km/h when overtaking other vehicles.
Carreteras convencionales are high-capacity single-carriageway roads in Spain which are a step down from motorways (with lanes in both directions, with or without separating barriers).
From March 21st 2022, anyone who surpasses the speed limit of a carretera convencional will be penalised and fined according to their excess of speed.
The DGT has reported that in 2019, 239 drivers died in road accidents in Spain as a result of these overtaking manoeuvres.
No drink-driving by minors
People under the age of 18 in Spain will not be allowed to use an e-scooter or moped if they have drunk any alcohol at all.
Even though the legal drinking age in Spain is 18, up to now minors were included in the same categories as adults, for whom the limit is 0.25 milligrammes of alcohol.
No e-scooters on the pavement
For the first time, personal mobility vehicles such as electric scooters, segways and similar devices have a special category in Spain’s traffic laws, which also apply to bicycles.
The new rules that come into force on March 21st 2022 include two important changes for users of these devices that are becoming increasingly prevalent across Spain.
It is now mandatory for users to wear a helmet and it is expressly forbidden to ride on the pavement, motorways or highways.
Either of these infractions will be punishable with a €200 fine.
The legal framework for stricter rules for personal mobility vehicles to soon be adopted have also been introduced, namely that by July 2022 new devices will have to include a breathalyser for users to be able to use them.
Recovering lost points
If you’ve lost points off your licence, there’s a positive change that is now in force. If for two years you don’t commit any further driving offences, you can now recover all 12 points automatically.
Previously there was a three-year wait for those who had committed a serious driving offence.
It will also now be possible to recover two points by carrying out a driving safety course.