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Changes to Traffic Laws in 2018

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During 2017 a number of changes have been proposed and announced by the DGT, which will affect all drivers on Spain´s roads.

With the main objective of reducing road traffic incidents and, reducing the risk of serious injury or death, many of the changes are already prepared and will start to come into force from the end of January. We have already reported on some of these changes but have brought them all together here as a digest of what we can look forward to.

Gregorio Serrano, the Director General of Traffic, said that “the new traffic law will be ready by the end of January 2018”, and that there will be important changes to the” examination procedure, points system, and to ITV inspections”, all aimed at reducing the number of deaths on the roads, 1,165 in 2017bso far recorded, ultimately to zero.

Changes to Examinations

The reforms, which could take effect from 2018, will be implemented in both the theoretical and in the practical exam, improving and adapting the system to those of other European countries.

It has been proposed that examinees perform the test through electronic devices. This could also include the projection of videos in which the student must describe a manoeuvre, observe hazards and react to emergency situations.

In addition, much like the changes implemented in the UK, the practical part of the exam will include students following the instructions of a GPS over a set route, having to obey the instructions given by the device, whilst still respecting the rules of the road.

Change to the Penalty Points System

The implementation of the penalty points system was recognised as one of the most effective measures in improving road safety. In Spain, points are awarded with the licence, then withdrawn in the event of an infraction, with the ability to increase the number of points awarded for good driving behaviour over time.

Despite the success, the DGT believes that the system needs to be updated and reconsidered so that it remains as effective as it has been up to now. To do this, the catalogue of infractions which cause point loss will be reviewed. Furthermore, the plan will include the automatic loss of the licence if all points are lost, since “it is indicative that the offender lacks the proper characteristics to drive a vehicle.”

The courses for obtaining points will also be reviewed and it is planned to create a virtual card so that all members of the European Union will be sanctioned if they commit infractions in Spain.

Changes to the ITV Process

The changes to the ITV system have already been published into the legal stature, and will come into force in May.

Users of vehicles who suffer a failure or negative result will be able to go to a different test centre for the retest, as long as the faults have been rectified.

ITV test centres will be obliged to have diagnostic reading tools that can be connected to the on-board computers of the vehicles. This way it will be possible to detect if malicious software has been installed that alters the operation of the Airbag, the catalysts, or the particle filters.

Likewise, reviews should also be made in greater depth on the security elements. In the past, this would involve physical tests of the seat belts, but from now on the electronic elements that are accessed through the computer on board the vehicle will also be checked.

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