Yesterday the Interior Minister announced changes in the driving laws in Spain. José Antonio Alonso informed Congress that the use of mobile phones while driving or failure to use car seat belts will be considered serious offences, and will result in points being taken off offenders’ driving licenses in a new points system to come into effect next year. Until now both offences have been considered “light”, and it is not at all unusual to see drivers talking on their phones while driving. Despite frequent campaigns on television and radio stressing the importance of car seat belts, a big percentage of Spaniards do not take any notice of back seat belts (use was only made compulsory a few years ago and many families have simply not got used to belting their children up in the back of the car).
The Interior Minister said that the points system about to be introduced in Spain will be similar to the one used in France. Driving licenses will have a credit of 12 points, in the case of experienced drivers, and 6-8 during a new driver’s first 2 years of driving.
He said that if someone is caught speeding for example, 3 points would be taken from the offender’s driving license. If a driver loses all 12 points, the driving licence will be withdrawn for a year, and once the year is up, the driver will have to take a special test and a course, aswell as the usual theoretical and practical driving tests in order to be given a new license.
The Spanish Government hopes that these new measures will help to reduce the number of deaths on Spanish roads – Spain has one of Europe’s worst road safety records, and one of the highest rates of deaths caused by traffic accidents.