The Spanish government has recently made some significant advances in its road safety laws, which … [+]
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Europe’s roads are considered to be the safest in the world, and Spain’s efforts over the past few years have helped ensure this achievement.
The Spanish government has recently made some significant strides in its road safety laws, which will come into effect in 2022, that will affect both citizens and travelers. The positive developments include alcohol bans in new passenger transport vehicles, mandatory helmets for e-scooter drivers and new speed restrictions when overtaking other vehicles.
The changes, approved by the Spanish Parliament, were announced earlier this month by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), a Brussels-based independent non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries in traffic in Europe.
“Despite having the best performance in Europe in reducing road deaths in the last two decades,” said Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the Security Council, “Spain is again taking the lead with big, bold measures to improve road safety. Alcohol interlocks are one of the most effective ways to combat drink-driving, so it’s great to see they come as standard on whole categories of new vehicles.
The European Union’s success in road safety is in large part due to the widespread adoption of the Vision Zero or Safe System approach, which takes human error into account and was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s. The aim is to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries worldwide by creating multiple layers of protection that take into account all factors that play a role in accidents: infrastructure design, vehicle safety, driver behavior, safe speeds, emergency measures, legislation and enforcement others use a safety net to reduce the effects of an impact.
The new rules in Spain include:
–All new minibuses designed to carry more than eight people, as well as buses and coaches, will have to be equipped with an alcohol locking device in 2022, which is in line with new European Union regulations that provide an interface for such a device on all new types prescribing road vehicles. “France is already demanding alcohol interlocks on buses and coaches used in public transport, but Spain is even further than France and has also introduced minibuses,” reads the ETSC newsletter;
– an end to a speed exemption under Spanish law that allowed cars to exceed the speed limit on certain roads in order to overtake another vehicle, as higher speeds always increase the risk;
– Drivers and passengers of all vehicles under the age of 18 are subject to a zero-tolerance alcohol limit. (The ETSC noted that some other countries, regardless of age, apply the same limit for anyone who passes a driving test, as inexperience is a key factor in road safety, but Spain’s new law only applies to young drivers.) Overall in Europe compared in the United States, legal limits for blood alcohol levels are much lower;
– E-scooter drivers must wear helmets. Finland and Greece already have this requirement, and several other countries require younger drivers to wear one. Denmark will also require helmets for e-scooters from January 2022.
– tougher penalties for not wearing seat belts and using a cell phone while driving; and
– Driving schools must have at least one physical location and cannot be operated exclusively online
The Spanish government participates in the EU Road Safety Exchange, a partnership between countries to share practices, skills and experience, as some countries have started improvements before others and have a more robust safety system as a result.
For example, Spain recently hosted two workshops for colleagues from Greece and Romania on motorcycle and infrastructure safety, according to the ETSC, which leads the initiative on behalf of the European Commission.
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