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The risk of older vehicles 

As we enter a more technical and computerised world, which is advancing very rapidly, the risks of older cars and their safety becomes more apparent. There have been recent comparisons done which show that accidents and incidents occurring with vehicle 15 years old or older are increased twofold when comparing cars that are younger 5/7 years. From that we can see, if we didn’t already know, that with enhanced safety features and technology our personal safety in an accident is improved in younger vehicles.

This is of some concern to the DGT and therefore they have been running a campaign to target exclusively the safety and maintenance of vehicles. This campaign has been done in conjunction with local police, in some cases and has been targeting safety features such as tyres, brakes, lights and glass i.e. windscreens etc. Whilst this campaign has now finished (for the time being), it is highly probable that the Guardia Civil will continue to check these items in routine checks in the future as a matter of course rather than a specific campaign.

As well as the above-mentioned visible safety checks they are of course able and quite often do, check all documentation for the car and its driver. They will check the validity of the ITV, ensure that insurance is current and, in some cases, ask for proof of payment, and of course that the driver is holding a legal driving licence for driving in Spain, with the appropriate categories for the vehicle they are driving at that time.

The correct maintenance of a vehicle contributes quite decisively to the safety aspect which are of course checked at ITV test but during a recent campaign by the DGT it was found that 1.64% of vehicles stopped did not hold a valid ITV. The fines for this are high apart from the fact that the vehicle could well be a danger to not only the driver but other road users.

It is therefore vitally important that you ensure that your tyres have sufficient tread and are the correct size for the car( this can be checked on your Ficha Tecnica) that all lights are fully functioning and that they are visible (i.e. not so dirty that they are virtually unseen or permit the driver to see with them).If your number plate is not clearly visible or does not have an EU symbol you may incur a fine of 200 euros .

Of course the above doesn’t just apply to older vehicles but newer models should also ensure they receive the correct maintenance and servicing.