From The Daily Mail, 8 March 06
New law to clamp foreign drivers
Police are due to be given new powers to clamp foreign drivers who break British laws and refuse to pay fines.
Under a new amendment to the Road Safety Bill, police would be able to hand out on-the-spot fines to overseas motorists who break the law.
Drivers who do not pay will have their cars clamped at the side of the road.
The government is primarily concerned with foreign lorry drivers who give false addresses to avoid prosecution, and are never chased up.
Overseas motorists often avoid punishment over minor offences because of difficulty in chasing up non-payment of fines or court appearances.
Foreign drivers also cannot be given fixed penalties with penalty points.
Foreign hauliers are estimated to commit thousands of offences every year, BBC transport correspondent Tom Symonds said.
They are believed to be four times more likely than British hauliers to flout the rules on how many hours they can drive without a break.
Under the current law, lorry drivers from other countries caught breaking the law in the UK are only required to give an address to police before being allowed to leave.
The new law would allow police to fine a driver on-the-spot and clamp any vehicle where the driver has refused to pay up.
Foreign drivers would be able to challenge any charges in court and receive a refund if they succeed.
The Department for Transport hopes the proposed law will "close the door on foreign drivers who think they can offend here and disappear".
"With the measures we are introducing, if they don't pay, they don't drive away. It's as simple as that," a spokesman said.
"It is about making our roads safer and creating a level playing field as this is common practice across Europe."
On the spot fines have existed here in Spain for years. Why is Britain so behind in many things, even immigration standards and checks?
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO! 10 March 2006.
It is a master blooper that can happen anywhere I suppose, but photos of National Director of Trafico (the equivalent plus of the DVLA),Sr. Pere Navarro were published in a local Spanish newspaper as part of an obvious national campaign, riding his bicycle on various pavements in I guess Madrid last week, as part of a publicity campaign to get drivers out of their cars and on bicycles. The only problem is, of course, that it is an offence to ride a bicycle on a pavement intended for pedestrians in the towns and cities in Spain, unless otherwise signed as such. And 99% are not. He was dressed in a suit and was not wearing any protection such as a plastic helmet, although in Spain, the use of protection applies only outside the up to 50 kph speed limits.
I wonder if anyone other than myself noticed and wrote to the Press.
ON A SIMILAR TRACK...
Why is it that people disobey laws designed to protect them form injury or death, or at the very least, unnecessary costs? The fairly new laws on using a mobile phone while on the road, note this includes when stopped as well unless you are right off the public highway, so why is it that everyday I see at least ten drivers with mobile phones held to their ears? And it is usually obvious as they are travelling slowly while they concentrate on the conversation, the very reason why we are all not allowed to use phones in our vehicles unless they are "hands free", and then they are still, in my opinion, dangerous to use as we humans cannot concentrate on two important actions at one. A reader the other day said he felt upset because he had been fined for using a mobile while in a traffic jam.
The "lady" who was fined for putting her makeup on while in traffic and being photographed by a (speed?) camera, was justly fined £200 and awarded points. She has apparently been fined and banned as well as being awarded more points a few days earlier for driving drunk. I believe that people like this do not deserve to drive at all, and she really needs to be banned for life to protect us all and herself from her bad attitude to driving.
The other major law that too many disobey is not wearing a seat belt. Last year in Spain, about 25% of people in cars killed were not wearing seat belts according to a Trafico report. OK, probably many were sitting in the back, but for many years now belts have been fitted by the manufacturers in the back seats, and if not, then this also highlights the need for them. And the driver is the one fined and now, from July 1st. 2006, can lose points as well, two points per person up to a maximum of 8 per day. I have been consistently wearing a seat belt since 1968, when I worked in the USA and was given a company car, a Chevrolet Impala, with a front bench seat. The seats were covered in vinyl and this coupled with the very soft suspension meant that during cornering, unless I used the simple lap belt (not a 3-point system), I would slide form side-to-side, so it was for this reason more than a fear of going through the windscreen. On my return to the UK two years later, the government campaigns were on for all to wear seat belts, so it became an easy simple habit to do so, and after years of motorcycling wearing a crash helmet and other protective clothing, this often saving me from scrapes if I slid of while riding on icy roads (I was a dedicated motorcyclist) even saving my life on one occasion, wearing a seat belt was a very sensible action.
In 1977, while driving on a dirt road in South Africa, my company car a Peugot 404, fitted with a single braking system, suffered a broken metal brake pipeline when a stone hit it, and I lost my brakes completely going down a steep hill towards a Tee-junction.. The pedal went down to the floor. After turning a right-angled Tee-junction successfully and while going sideways, the back wheel hit a partially buried rock and the car very rapidly flipped over twice. The driver's door flew open the windscreen popped out, the roof came down about 2 inches, and it finally landed on its wheels. I undid the seat belt and stepped out without a scratch or a bruise, just wobbly knees.
No one will ever convince me that seats belts are not an excellent and very necessary car accessory.
What was the expression? Clunk-Click; every trip!
OBTAINING TRAFICO FORMS OFF THE INTERNET. 14 March 2006.
On page 99 of the new book, I describe how you can download various Trafico forms for administrative purposes such as applying for a duplicate of your (Spanish) driving licence, or changing your UK one for a Spanish licence, etc.
The direct address no longer works, so to reach the page with the list of forms on it as in my book, please follow this procedure: -
Go to www.dgt.es.
Click on "Tramites" at the top of the screen.
In the drop-down menu, bottom right, you will see "Modelos y Impresos". Click on this line.
You are now in the correct page. Follow the instructions in my book on page 99.
You are able to type in the information on screen and then print the form, or just print out a blank form for completion with a pen.
New PROPOSED EU Driving Licences. 23 March 2006.
The onward march towards a new EU super-state continues despite the efforts and wishes of a lot of people, especially Brits. for it not continue. The latest is the standardisation of the 110 different driving licences in the EU to the extent that there will be one master-system so that all licences will be the same, which they are nearly that way now, and the individual states will have on-line access to all of the licences issued in all of the country states. It is expected to be signed into law by the Brussels parliament this week (27th March >), and it is planned to phase it in from 2012 over 20 years, so no panic yet.
There are people who do not know, or do not want to know, that the owning of more than one driving licence (other than an International Driving Licence) is illegal, so the new system will have the effect of removing a lot of the crime, especially where drivers get fined for offences in another EU state and think that they will not have to pay. With the new system, the fine or charge will be applied in their own country if they are not marched off to a cash pint from the scene, this with the new speed cameras being common now. But perhaps the potential worry for the “human rights” brigade is the possibility that an EU Identity Document can be included in the card with all the information about the individual contained in a chip.
I must admit that I am one of the believers in an ID system where we all carry some sort of convenient card that can easily and positively identify the carrier as to being who he or she is. I think that the only people who are against it are those who are potential or actual criminals, and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. After all, we have to carry ID here in Spain and it is no problem, and I have had to carry an ID book for 25 years when I lived in South Africa. Just think, in an accident, the card can be quickly pushed through a laptop computer in the police car or ambulance and essential information such as allergies and the blood group are readily available saving precious minutes that can mean life or death. And if the driver has been banned in one country, he/she will be banned automatically in all of the EU making the roads that bit safer. No more passports within the EU and your residence, driving licence, social security details are all on one card. As long as the cost is reasonable, I and think that combining the needs for identity in one card will bring down the cost to that of a bank card – not more than €10. Worked sensibly, the system will eliminate other larger departments within the civil service – or will it?
NEW PENALTY POINT SYSTEM STARTS ON 1st JULY 2006.
The long expected penalty points system for drivers who break the traffic rules is now scheduled to start on the 1st July this year.
In conjunction with the information in my book, the following adds the information that was not available or confirmed last year. It is in a question and answer format.
Can a driver lose all the points in one day?
No. Not more than 8.
Are the points lost from the time of the offence?
No, only from when the administration confirms the sentence. If this happens and the offender does not present a defence within one month of notification of the sentence, then it becomes effective.
If the driver loses points, does he/she have to pay a fine as well?
Yes, depending on the offence and the decision of the charging official. They are independent of each other. They are serious (grave) from €91 to €300, and very serious (muy grave), €301 to €600.
Is it possible to gain points again for being a good driver?
Yes, up to reaching a maximum of 15 points, if you have driven without any more sentences for three years, the driver automatically is awarded the 12 points again.
If you have lost some points, how can you get them back?
There are two distinct ways: -
1. Attending an official 12 hour re-education course for drivers. This is allowed once in every two years only and will gain you a return of four points.
2. If you have not lost any points in two years, you will regain all the lost points except for those lost due to a very serious offence in which case the period is three years.
If you lose your driving licence, how can you get it back?
If you have lost all your points, and consequently lost your licence, after waiting six months you may attend a re-education course. At the end of this course, you will have to attend a theory test at the Trafico. If you pass, you can regain 8 points. If you have lost 12 points, you must wait a year to attend the course to regain all 12 points.
Of what do these courses consist?
There are two parts. The first is where the subject is on general road safety. The other is where the individual is subject to specific teaching depending on what they were sanctioned for, such as drinking and driving, speeding, etc. The courses last form 4 to 12 to 24 hours, split between the two needs.
Where are the courses held?
There are currently nationwide 199 authorised centres belonging to the Confederation Nacional de Autoescuelas (Nation Confederation of Driving Schools). The courses cost between €170 and €320 and the offending driver has to pay for them.
Where can the course addresses be found?
They are to be listed on the Trafico web site and in 90% of cases, are said to be within 30 km of all potential offenders’ homes.
Can the points be deducted from the licences of non-residents with foreign licences?
No. Each country has its own system at this time, but within the next few years, it is envisaged that there will be an EU-wide, licence system where the country of issue does not matter. Points will then be deducted from all EU licences in any EU State. For non-EU visitors, this system does not apply.
When the course has been satisfactorily completed, how do you get your licence back?
You apply with the correct TASA (rate) form, a photograph, a completed medical examination form, your DNI/residencia/NIE/Passport, and the original of the certificate showing you have completed the course satisfactorily.
How do you know how many points are lost for which offence?
The detailed list is shown (in Spanish) on the Trafico web site, and also in my book, Motoring in Spain, Second Edition.
Does the system apply to all licences from mopeds/scooters up to heavy trucks?
Yes. Also, all the classes on your licence are affected, not just the vehicle type that you were driving at the time of the offence.
I am a professional (vocational) driver. Do I lose my points the same as non-professionals?
Yes, you lose the same number as any other driver. However, there are different variations: -
1. The professional driver has lower levels of alcohol limits at which an offence is committed.
2. If you exceed the allowed driving times or do not take the specified rest periods, both are deducted at a 50% rate.
3. If you lose your driving licence, you only have to wait three months to start the re-education course, not six, and then you may apply for a restored licence as noted above.
Can I drive if I have only one point left?
You may drive as long as you have not lost all your points.
Registering and running Historic cars in Spain.
In the UK, a motor vehicle becomes a classic when it is 25 years old, and the owner has privileges such as no road fund licence to pay as it is assumed that it is not used regularly, and the insurance can be less for the same reason, especially if insured through a club for historic cars, etc. It has not always been this way and it was only about 20 years ago (guessing) that the law was changed to accommodate this class of vehicle. Spain is therefore about 20 years behind in this matter, and in answer to a query from a reader, the following are the facts at this time. If I learn anymore, I will modify this section.
Age when vehicle qualifies. Twenty five years after first registration.
What is involved in registering a foreign classic vehicle here? There is a special department based in each region, e.g. for Andalucia it is in Seville,. Much more info on thsi web site inserted in May 2007. Click on HISTORICVEHICLES
How much does it cost to register otherwise? The same as any other vehicle, but the tax payable is based on the valuation by the experts at the hacienda who also check the expert's report (tax office).
What about importing such a vehicle. If it is already authenticated or an application ahs been made, there is no import duties. It is best to use the expert services of a specialist. One for Andalucia is named in the special page on the subject in this web site. HISTORICVEHICLES
What new registration does the vehicle have? See page 198 in the book and the new page linked above.