Thursday, June 29, 2006

Permiso por puntos: lo único que cambia es que hay más seguridad.

This is the title of the little missive that dropped on my doormat the other day from DGT - 'trafico'. I suspect that the only change will be more revenue for trafico until there are enough drivers wallying around on 2 points. Maybe then the message will get home.

Per capita Spain is not that bad and safer than Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and the new Eastern members. However thet have the worst record in Europe for HGV-related accidents, so stay well away from trucks.

The full information is available from the trafico website in Spanish at:- or

The english synopsis:-

The system will only apply to those on Spanish licences. The word on the street from trafico is that offences committed by those on non-spanish licences will be punished more severely - On the spot fines will go up and there will be more confiscations of cars.

Drivers will be allocated 12 points. New drivers will get 8 points for the first three years. This will also apply to those who are issued a new licence following revocation of a previous licence. Drivers who have no endorsements after three years will get a further two points to make 14. After a further three clean years they get another point to make 15. This is not to be confused with the winning ONCE number.

Points are deducted as follows:

2 points for minor offences such as:
- Stopping or parking in unsafe places such as bends, crests, tunnels or poses a risk to pedestrians.
- Stopping or parking in bus lanes.
- Use of radar detectors.
- Driving without lights when required.
- Carrying children under the age of 12 on scooters or motorcycles except where allowed by the law.
- Speeding 20-30kph over the limit [Did you know that you are allowed to exceed the speed limit by up to 20kph to overtake - this is why all spaniards drive at 140kph on the motorway - "¡Pero agente, sólo estaba adelantandole!"

3 points for more serious offences such as:
- Driving without a seat belt or riding without a helmet.
- Performing U-turns except where permitted - did you know you ARE allowed to do a U-turn at a junction if not signed otherwise?
- Driving whilst using any mobile telephone or accessory, except where allowed by law.
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front.
- Speeding 30-40kph over the limit.

4 points for serious offences such as:
- Driving on motorways (autopistas) or highways (autovías) in/on a prohibited vehicle (e.g. scooter)
- Exceeding the passenger capaity of the vehicle by 50% or more - i.e. 6 or more passengers in a vehicle with 4 passenger seats.
- driving a vehicle without the proper licence.
- dropping litter on the road or roadside with might cause a fire or accident - no fag butts.
- negligent driving which creates a risk to other road users.
- Speeding 40 or more kph over the limit, but not more than 50%.
- Ignoring give way or stop signs, jumping traffic lights.
- failing to observe the rules for overtaking, putting at risk or holding up oncoming traffic, or overtaking in places or circumstances where visibility is reduced.
- reversing on a motorway or highway.
- Ignoring signals from a traffic cop.
- Accelerating or performing manoevres which prevent or impede being overtaken.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol where a breath test shows more than 0.25mg/l and less than 0.5mg/l (0.15mg/l to 0.3mg/l for professional drivers).

6 points for very serious offences such as:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol where a breath test shows more than 0.5mg/l (0.3mg/l for professional drivers).
- Driving under the influence of drugs or similar substances [vindaloo anybody?].
- Driving in an aggresive manner, the wrong direction, or racing or competing without authorisation.
- Failure to take a blood or drug test.
- Speeding 50% and 30kph or more over the limit.
- For professionals only (that's me), exceeding driving hours by more than 50% or taking less than 50% of rest time [I'll remember that one for work].

Once all 12 points are lost, so is the licence. It can be recovered, but only after attending a course and passing a test. A licence can be revoked for any serious or very serious offence, regardless of the number of points left on the licence. See also new drivers, above. Points lost from a licence if not disqualified , up to a maximum of 4 points, can also be recovered by attending a course. This can be done up to a maximum of once every two years. The cost of the course to recover points is €170 and lasts 12 hours, and for recovery of licence is €320 and lasts 24 hours.

The time taken to recover the licence after disqualification is 6 months for the first time, 12 months thereafter (3 months & 6 months for professionals).

Points are not lost at the time of the offence, only when reported. This allows drivers to voluntarily go on a course to avoid loss of points, but this must be done within one month and the outcome of the course must satisfy trafico.

I see ALL of the above behaviours EVERY day. We'll just have to wait and see if the rules change driving behaviour. I'm not holding my breath.

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