Although some weeks ago we published details of the changes being made to the Traffic Law by the Department of Transport, we thought a reminder, just a week before their introduction on 11 May, might be timely.

Until now, the generic speed limit in cities was set at 50 kilometres per hour. As of May 11, this figure will be reserved for high-capacity roads that have two or more lanes in each direction, such as the CV-905 in Torrevieja which saw the speed limit reduced not too long ago.

With the aim of eradicating traffic deaths in urban accidents and avoiding both accidents and their consequences, two new limitations will be introduced: 30 kilometres per hour and 20 kilometres per hour, depending on the type of street.

30 kilometres per hour

This is the limit for roads that have a single lane in each direction, which is already being applied in many Spanish cities. It should be noted that the areas reserved for some vehicles or users (such as those for public transport) are not counted.

20 kilometres per hour

This new limit will be the one that regulates traffic on single-platform roads, that is, those streets in which the pavement and the road are unified and, therefore, pedestrians and vehicles share the same access, although preference is always to the pedestrian.

Sanctions

The penalties will also change: driving over the speed limit will be considered a serious offence that will be punished with a fine of 100 euro without loss of points on the driving licence. Driving at excessive speed will result in higher fines and the loss of points.

Adapting limits

Remember that town councils will have the power to reduce these new generic speeds if they consider it necessary and provided that they install the necessary signage.

The General Directorate of Traffic has been recommending these speed limits to municipalities for years but with little uptake they have now decided to introduce the measures themselves.

In Spain, in 2019 the number of deaths in town’s and cities increased by 6% and according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of dying in an accident involving a car being driven at 50kmh is at least five times greater than if the speed were 30 kmh.

Penalties for driving faster than the new limits:

31 to 50 km/h £100 fine and no loss of points

51 to 60km/h £300 and loss of 2 points

61 to 70km/h £400 and loss of 4 points

71 to 80km/h E500 and loss of 6 points

81 to 89km/h E600 and loss of 6 points

Driving 60km/h above the limit is punishable with a prison sentence of 30 to 90 days and a ban of 1 to 4 years.