Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No es rentable comprar puntos: te lo explicamos

This story came up on the Spanish motoring press, prompted by a report from Germany.

" The entry into force of the points-based licence in Spain (1 July) has not only made the roads safer, but also given rise to a black market. Points are for sale" “Auto Motor und Sport”.

Spain is European news, because the licence is one of the most strict, and has led to a barely believable business - the buying and selling of licence points.

In other countries with a similar licence, if the driver is not identified, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the penalty for the offence. Now when a radar trap takes a photo it only catches the vehicle, not the driver.

In Spain, the owner of the vehicle must identify the driver (Article 72.3 of the Traffic and road safety law) [aimed mainly at car hire businesses]. If not, the owner is subject to a fine of between 300 and 1,500 euro.

Therefore, it is possible to identify another driver and make them liable for the fine and loss of points. It's this which has prompted a number of Spaniards to sell their points online. Because the driving offence is 'civil' and not 'criminal', the selling of points constitutes no offence. 25% of all driving offences in Spain are speeding. It already appears that some mothers and grandmothers have stepped in to take the blame for their son or grandson's addiction to speed. After all, they don't need the licence.

This is not the only loophole in the law.

At the moment, the most expensive driving offence has been 520 euro, and also led to 6 points and loss of licence for a couple of months. The guy was booked doing 219kph by radar.

This guy also has a get-out. According to Mario Arnaldo, president of Automovilistas Europeos Asociados (AEA) , Tráfico almost never reaches the 1,500 euro fine for failure to identify the driver by doubling the original fine for the offence.

In the above example, for 219kph we would pay 1,040 euro for failure to disclose. However, there's a discount for early payment of 30% (312 euro) bringing this down to 728 euro. Furthermore, this offence carries no points penalty, nor loss of licence. In other words, each points is worth no more than 60 euro. Much more is being asked on the internet, typically 250 euro, and up to almost 3,000 PER POINT. Given that offences totalling over 200,000 points have been reported so far, that makes an average market of 50 million euro.

Moral: Don't buy points.

1 comment:

Grumpy Goat said...

If my grey-haired mother stepped in, saying that she was driving the Porsche at 200kph, wouldn't she also get busted for driving without insurance?

OK, so she's a named driver. Next year the insurance premium gets jacked up to cover the risks associated with insuring some Hell's Granny.

Very soon, someone who doesn't realise that the throttle goes in both directions is going to run out of non-driving relatives!