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Slow down, it’s 2019! 

As we commence the New Year the DGT and Government are intending to reduce vehicle accidents and for this there are new laws on speed regulations that are coming into force.

It is speeds on secondary roads that the Director General of Tráfico, Pere Navarro, had vowed to control and now this is to be enforced. It is on these roads that the majority of fatal and server injuries are sustained. Here in Tenerife South this often happens on the road by Camping Nauta which many of our readers will no doubt be familiar with. The thinking is, that by reducing the MAXIMUM permitted speed on such roads SHOULD contribute to fewer accident, although of course the responsibility is that of the driver to comply with the regulations. Sadly many do not and accidents are caused, but often the offending vehicle escapes and leaves a trail of destruction behind them.

Another area that will be a focus for this is to protect more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, personal mobility scooter users, motorbikes, and of course cyclists. At the end of December 2018, the Spanish Interior Minister, Don Fernando Grande Marlaska, announced that the DGT were going to be working to reform various driving laws, whereby we would see a reduction in maximum permitted speed limits in towns and villages, where there is already a limit in force, and that this would become a national standard limit, specifically reducing speeds in major cities, although those who travel within Santa Cruz would be very hard pushed most of the time to reach more than 20 kilometres an hour at certain times of the day! The speed limit would be reduced from 50 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour. The Interior Minister has explained that this is following on from ministers of the larger cities, in the mainland namely Madrid, Bilbao, Malaga and Valencia, as there was a broad consensus there was a need to protect better most vulnerable road users.

The Interior Minister has stated that in the near future the limit will be reduced on more than 7000 kilometres of roads throughout Spain on conventional roads, where the current limit is 100 kilometres per hour i.e. these are roads without other restrictions where a hard shoulder of 1.5 metres or more exists (a typical example here is on the TF1 just past the Fañabe exit of the motorway). This decrease is in line with European standard as Spain is one of the few with a limit of 100 kilometres per hour. It was explained that the risk of death in an accident on these types of roads is reduced by between five and eight times when the speed of impact with a pedestrian goes from 50 to 30 kilometres per hour. For the planning in 2019, the first half of the year will see changes that reduce road traffic accidents involving motor-cyclists and cyclist, and pedestrians, as these currently represent 46% of all deaths.

In addition there will be regular obligatory face to face training to obtain a driving licence. The bonus of two points on the licence for taking a safe driving course or persistent driving to a required standard are the most effective safety systems, amongst other measures being mentioned as part of the work by the DGT.