With 4,400 people losing their lives on the roads of Spain last year, the Government hopes that the new points driving license, introduced on July 1st 2006 will change driving habits across Spain. Similar schemes in Italy, France and Germany, have seen road deaths fall by as much as 40%.
People will still be fined for traffic offences as before, but most of the offences will now see a deduction in the number of points on your driving license. There is still a 90 € fine category for small offences which sees no change in your points tally. Also if a fine is issued but the driver at the time is not identified, then obviously no points can be taken, although the fine can now reach 1,500 €.
Drivers with more than three years experience start with 12 points, while new drivers are credited with eight. Drivers can get two extra points after three years with no offences and a further point after that after three more years to reach the maximum number of points – 15.
The points are to be deducted when the fine becomes fixed. When you receive the letter with the fine there are three things you can do.
- Pay up within a month and get a 30% discount and get the points deducted.
- Launch an appeal within 15 days.
- Do nothing. If you do nothing the fine is considered fixed in a month when your points will be deducted.
If you leave the fine unpaid, you'll find the amount due taken automatically from your tax rebate or directly from your bank account.
Drivers can check their current balance on the Traffic Department website – www.dgt.es. The points can be considered as being virtual in as much as should you renew your driving licence, your points balance remains unchanged.
One thing to note is that the data is confidential. We are promised that insurance companies will not have access to those who have lost points, and so will be unable to alter their tariffs accordingly. However there are already new insurance policies on the market designed to attract those drivers who fear that they may lose points, offering transport costs, or the cost of the course drivers will have to take to recover lost points.
You can voluntarily take a course once every two years. This consists of 12 hours of classes, 170 € cost and 4 points at the end guaranteed. However if you lose your license you are obliged to take another course of 24 hours of classes, 320 € cost and 8 points at the end, provided you pass an exam. These new education centres are now being established and the government has a target that by the start of next year, all residents of the country will be no further than 30 kms away from one.
"The traffic authorities say the new system will hit those repeat offenders more than others and expect 6,000 drivers to lose their license in the first year".
Passengers can lose points too. If you are a passenger in a car and stopped not wearing your seat belt, then your license will still be deducted the three points, even if the driver is wearing his.
Finally here’s a quick round up of how you can lose points
Speeding - Between 2 and 6 points depending on how far above the speed limit you were travelling.
Using the mobile phone or any other apparatus considered a distraction – 3 points.
Not using your seat belt or helmet for bike riders – 3 points.
Drink driving – 4 or 6 points.
Points can also be lost in the following circumstances:
2 points will be taken for:
- Dangerous parking
- Using radar speed trap detectors
- Forgetting to turn on your headlights
- Taking a child under 12 as a passenger on a motorbike
3 points will be taken for:
- Making an illegal turn
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front
4 points will be taken for:
- Driving without the correct license
- Taking a vehicle onto a motorway that is not authorized
- Reversing on a motorway
- Dangerous driving or overtaking
- Blocking another driver from overtaking
- Jumping a red light
- Disobeying police instructions
- Throwing any dangerous objects from the car – this includes cigarette butts
- Driving with too many people in the vehicle
And finally 6 points will be taken for:
- For extreme dangerous driving, which could be, for example, taking part in racing, driving against the traffic and so on.
- Professional drivers risk losing six points if they do not respect official rest periods