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MOTORING IN SPAIN

Information not incorporated in the Second Edition.

 Costs of Learning to Drive and obtain a licence in Spain.   17 May 2004

The main problem for the English-speaking learner-driver in Spain is that, except in selected areas where there are many English-speaking residents with teenage children who are of the age to learn to drive, the lessons are not in English.   If the "child" has lived in Spain for a few years this will not be a problem, but it is for the newcomers, of which there are quite a few now.   My book suggests that the best way is to learn and take the test in the UK, but if you live on the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca, there are schools who will teach and arrange for the driving test to be taken in English.    The cost is an important consideration.   One young driver advised me that it cost her over 450, whereas the procedure (tuition and test) in Spanish was far less, about 150.

If you live in Malaga Province, namely Malaga City, Benalmadena or Marbella, then Javier Gomez of Autoescuelas Torcal is a well respected registered driving instructor who speaks English.  He lived in the UK for 18 months.  His phone numbers are:    600-950-685; 600-950-611, and the school office number is (Marbella) 952-86 86 64.

Note:  The above tel-nos checked in August 2006 and found to be still current.

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THEY KNOW IT ALL??   Aug 2004

On occasion, I am asked by strangers, usually from the UK who have settled here, for advice about motoring in Spain, and while I will be the first to admit that I do not know it all, (even the average policeman does not) I help as much as possible, and after a few searching questions suggest that he/she buys the book.  About 50% decline because perhaps they either do not want to admit that they need it (the questions prove that they do) or they are the types that could not care less about breaking the Laws they do not know, and they have most likely been like this all their lives.   You have met the types, still using their mobile phones while driving, etc.   It is worth while though as the other 50% buy, and some E-mail me to thank me.

My wife and I occasionally take rides out to see the pueblos in the Spanish interior, and on this particular Sunday this September, we went to to see Iznajar which is about 1-1/2 hours from Marbella on the way to Granada.   We stopped for anagua con gas at the bar in the pueblo, and got chatting to two English ladies, one who lived there, the other at the coast, to ask questions about the town.  I mentioned my book, always seeing a potential sale.  The lady from the coast asked about how she could renew here UK driving licence which she had lost.    I told her the best way to do it was to contact the DVLA in the UK thru the web site (as shown in the book) and then I told her that as she was driving a Spanish  car that she owned and she lived here full time (three years now), she would need to change it for a Spanish licence.   Apparently she lost the UK one some months ago.     I offered to sell her a book which had the procedure detailed in it, but she was very sharp in refusing.     I reminded her nicely that if she gets stopped by the police in a road block, she would have to leave the car until someone else such as a friend with the right licence could legally drive it away.  Also, I did not tell her that if it was not legally driven away during the road block period, it would be GRUA-ed to the police compound and accrue daily fees as well as the cost of the GRUA.   Of course, she commented that she knows all the local police: - from Iznajar to the coast???

For a lady who was mature in years, she showed a cavalier attitude, and I do not wish the worst for anyone except Osama Bin Laden and those of his ilk, but I thought it would be poetic justice if she got caught on the way home, especially after the many alcoholic beverages she was drinking.

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11 October 2004

How lucky we are IN Spain?

Surfing the Internet, I arrived at an excellent web site called www.movetoireland.com, which supplies all the information to encourage or discourage you to move there.   Examples of why not to move to this wet but beautiful country, with a population of about 4 million, are the tax rates VAT/IVA 21%, high accident rates on the generally narrow roads (getting better) causing high insurance rates in a restrictive and uncompetitive insurance industry, taxes, our Ford Focus would attract an annual road tax of 461 per year: in Spain it is 119 this year (287% higher), a free health system that you really need private health insurance to ensure getting that vital operation in time, and much more.  The author mentions that, in 2002, it was discovered that the Irish insurance industry made ten times the profit that the UK industry did over the 17-year period from 1999.   This is not a percentage, but raw figures, and the population of the UK is 60-million, so 4-million Irish people paid 15 times what 60-million UK people did in that period.  If you want to know more, take a look.    Sounds like there is room for foreign competition there in the insurance industry.

As a point of interest, the road taxation In Ireland varies from 144 per year for a car with an engine under 1 litre to 1.279 for a car with an engine bigger that 3 litres.   

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Police TO get tough with motoring Law-Breakers.  Nov 2004

 The Spanish Government is determined to reduce drastically the number of road deaths and injuries over the next few years.  Spain is in the top three statisically of the EU countries for deaths on the road.  Many are pedestrians; much is alcohol related.  So the police are being pressured to take seriously all the aspects of the Law as it affects safety.  Many now have digital cameras to take pictures of cars that have been illegally parked, for example, and they will be used for other pictures that will make offenders think twice about bothering to defend a denuncia.   The new points penalty system includes debiting points (see the new book for details) for illegal parking, such is the problem in some of Spain's crowded and narrow streets. 

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A WORD OF ADVICE!

 If you are involved in an accident or incident with another vehicle, or where your vehicle is damaged by another party, it is very important to complete the insurance accident form, the declaracion amistosa de accidente de automovil.     I am old enough to know better.

 A year ago, on a windy Saturday night, a builder's temporary fence across the private calle outside our casa, was blown over during the night onto our legally parked car, causing a lot of paintwork damage.   I took photos and reported the damage to the building site foreman, and to my insurance company, but to avoid spoiling my 30 plus years of No Claims, I advised them that I was attending to it privately.   After much talk and a few weeks, he gave me details of his insurance company, and asked if he could say it was a small dumper that did the damage (knocked over the fence) as he would be in "trouble with his boss" if it came out that he had not fitted the fence safely.  I was later told that he, and his company, could have also been in trouble with the Law.  I was told that the costs would be within their  insurance excess, and he would organise paying me the cash, which was a total of Eur. 655, as quoted by the local Ford agency chapa y pintura.   I reported it to my insurance company, carefully avoiding telling any lies, but did not complete the insurance form.  After all, I was going to be paid cash.  You can guess the rest.  I never got the cash, and the insurance companies, a year later, have thrown out the claim as there was a "lie" involved. 

 I am now seeing an abogado to see if it is possible to go to the Spanish Small Claims Court, as the amount is within their jurisdiction.   As the other party has already admitted liability, I feel confident, but they are obviously hoping that I will not bother.   

 So, please take the advice, use the form (an English version is in the book) and do it the right way, getting it signed correctly on the spot.  Unlike me, do not be a "nice guy".

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Radar detector owners, beware!

I have been advised from a contact in France, ex-South African, Mike Preston, that two Brits have been fined there for carrying radar speed detectors, found during  routine stops, just before toll booths.  Press report follows.

 French cash in with fines on radar trap detectors
By David Millward
(Filed: 20/12/2004)
Britons are being hit with heavy fines by French police after being caught with speed trap detectors in their cars.

One driver to fall foul of the draconian traffic laws across the channel was 63-year-old Ian Kennard when he and his passenger, Mike Hutchin were stopped approaching a highway toll near Dijon earlier this month

The police noticed an old radar detector, which was not in use, on the dashboard. (My note??  Why then was it on the dashboard, the usual place for these devices?).   Mr Kennard's entreaties that it was a gift from his son and that it had never worked at least persuaded the police to halve the on-the-spot fine from 1,500 (1,027) to 750 (513).

Lacking the cash to pay immediately, Mr Kennard was taken in the police car to a bank, while Mr Hutchin, 66, was held separately.

"They wanted to know what the device was and I told them it was a radar detector which hadn't worked for years," said Mr Kennard, a chartered surveyor from Lambourne End, Essex.

"One of my bank cards didn't work and at one point they were going to take the car away from me and leave us to make our own way home."

Incensed by his treatment, Mr. Kennard has written to the French Ambassador in London. "It is scarcely in the spirit of the Entente Cordiale to punish people who did not know they were committing a technical offence to the same extent as nationals who perhaps knowingly break the same law," he said.

(My Note:  Ignorance of the Law is no excuse!)

Another Briton to run into trouble was Alan Powell, a motoring journalist who, before embarking on a test drive, fitted a radar detection device which had also been lent to him for the purposes of a press review.  (My note:  He should have known better, being a "professional"!)

It was spotted by a French police officer as he approached a toll booth. Initially Mr. Powell faced a 500 on-the-spot fine. But following the intervention of a lawyer, it was reduced to 15 after a court appearance.  (My note: How much did the lawyer cost?)

In Britain speed trap detectors are legal, but devices which interfere with police radar traps will be outlawed when the current Road Safety Bill becomes law.

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by RAY MASSEY, UK Daily Mail 

Motorists caught speeding (or breaking Motoring Laws) on the Continent could be banned from driving in Britain.

 For the first time, European courts will be able to issue Britons with penalty points for motoring offences committed abroad according to plans being made in Brussels.

 They will count towards the 12-point maximum which leads to a ban here - and which, under separate plans, will be extended to cover the whole of the EU.

 Last night motoring organisations voiced concerns that the move will see British drivers unfairly targeted on the Continent.

 The new regulations will affect many of the 12 million Britons who travel across the Channel each year. At present, those who commit a motoring offence abroad and are stopped by police may receive an on-the-spot fine.

 But if they are caught on camera speeding or committing a minor offence, they are seldom pursued by the authorities.

 That is to change, however, because the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is to give Continental courts access to its database so they can trace British drivers.

 The courts will then be able to issue drivers with fines or penalty points.

 If drivers ignore the fines, they will be dealt with by British courts - and those who refuse to co-operate will face a visit from the bailiffs.   An EU official said: "The new laws mean that the authorities will soon have no option but to come knocking on your door if you've been caught parking on a yellow line outside the Folies Bergere."

 Driving bans are also to be extended to cover the whole of the EU.   Until now, motorists banned in one country have been able to drive in others.   (Update November 2006.  This is still not  in effect.)

 Already the UK and Spain have signed up to the ban and France, Germany and Austria are expected to follow.

 Mark MacArthur-Christie, of the Association of British Drivers, yesterday described the proposed laws as "appalling".

 "We give this idea nil points," he said.

 The AA said it supported co- operation between EU members, but only if safeguards were in place to ensure Britons were treated the same as citizens of other countries.

 British motorists in France are already treated more harshly than their French counterparts in this country.

 They face 60 on-the-spot fines for minor offences, yet French drivers who commit similar offences here go home without punishment.

 The AA's Paul Watters said: "We are worried that in some countries their idea of justice may not be the same as in others."

 But other motoring experts say the cost and practicalities of pursuing cases across the Channel would too great to make the scheme worthwhile.

At this update time, November 2006, the proposed law is not working.

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Nothing to do with Motoring in Spain, but if you thought we had problems with corruption here, read this about a South African event in February 2005.

Limpopo cancels bogus drivers licences.2/24/2005 2:24:25 PM
The Limpopo Traffic Department has started cancelling thousands of drivers licences that were issued to people who did not qualify. This comes after a Limpopo traffic official issued more than twenty-one thousand irregular licences. Traffic official Ms. Pela appeared in Court yesterday on a record, nine hundred charges of violating the Road Traffic Act. The department's Wendy Watson says Pela issued licences without doing proper eye tests and to people who were medically unfit to drive.   Watson says 3 500 licences have already been reversed and the people have to go for a complete re-test of their drivers' licences, not just an eye-test.

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Price differential between Diesel and Petrol Narrows.  (1st March 2005)

Until recently, diesel fuel (standard "A") has been cheaper than 95 octane unleaded by about 10 to 12 %.  At this time the differential has been reduced to about 4  - 5 % with no reasons being given by the producers.  Over 50% of the cars sold in Spain are diesel and this has led to a consumption of this fuel, especially when we have to remember that it is used by agricultural and non-road machines, out of proportion to what it used to be.  In other countries, diesel usage by passenger cars is relatively low, due to the fact that it can be more expensive than petrol (UK) and although the fuel consumption is far less, the cost of the vehicle is usually higher as a diesel engine can be more expensive to manufacture.

Let us look at some of the Pros & Cons: -

Item

Petrol

Diesel

Fuel economy

Very good compared with years gone by, but cannot match a similarly powered diesel car.

Due to higher engine efficiency, including the ability to pull a higher gear (lower engine revs for a given road speed), the diesel uses about 15 to 30 % less fuel than a petrol car.

Engine power

As the engine is not so highly stressed due to high compression ratios, the amount of power, especially for sporting use, can be much higher, especially with turbo-charging.

The diesel engine in most cars now is already turbocharged to produce a satisfactory road performance.  The big benefit is that especially in hilly country, the vehicle can be driven without having to run the engine at higher speeds compared with a petrol engine.  This greatly helps the overall economy.

Engine torque.

Most road petrol engines develop maximum torque or pulling power at around 3.500 to 4.000 rpm.  This means that especially for the smaller engines, changing down a gear or more to accelerate is a necessity.

The diesel engine will pull very strongly down to less than 1.550 rpm.  In fact maximum torque on many engines is around the 1.750 rpm mark.  However, maximum rpm is about 4.500 rpm, but coupled with the higher gearing, this is not really a handicap for everyday use.

Cost of manufacture.

Cheaper to make except when a turbocharger and a multi-valve system with variable valve timing is used.

Engine has to be more robust, but design is cheaper because of low rpm, and there is no real need for multi-valves and variable valve timing.   Many of the new engines are as powerful as the equivalent petrol, but much more economic.

Servicing

Many now run 20.000 km between oil changes.  Over say 100.000 km, is cheaper to service.

Needs an oil change every 10.000 km or sooner if used for short runs.  However, properly serviced, diesel engines will run for very high mileages.

Engine camshaft belt replacement

Most cars, this needs changing at 70 to 80.000 km.  Cause of high repair cost if not changed in time.  Costs about .200 + to do by professional workshop.

Ford Focus diesel, now about 150.000 km due to lower rpm and easier life.  Probably the same on most diesel-engined cars.

Engine components

On most small petrol engines (up to say 2 litres) items such as water-pumps need changing every 100.000 km or so.

Water pumps, fan belts, etc all last much longer because of the lower operating RPM.

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Animals in the Car,  2 March - 2005

Just about every law is made from accident statistics or as the result of commonsense, which many of us on occasion, do not seem to be able to practice, and as the result, the authorities who are responsible for our safety and security have to decide to ensure that we are forced to be sensible.  As we know, these are called Laws.   One such law concerns animals in the car.   This Law generally states that animals are not to be free to roam around in the passenger section of a motor vehicle without positive restraint so that it / they cannot affect the driver and either cause an accident, or in the event of one, they do not injure anyone in the car.

My wife and I love animals, having had many dogs as well as cats.     So we can easily understand people treating their pets as one of the family.  But, as you love your family members, and ensure that they always use a safety belt, even when in the back, it is commonsense to afford your pets the same amount of love and either travel with them in the back of a hatchback (remove the top shelf) or estate car, with a strong net to separate them from the passengers, especially the medium to larger dogs, or in a pet travel box, as we do.   After all, in the event even of just an emergency stop, your pet can travel forward to either hit someone causing injury, or even to hit or go through the windscreen.

There is no more to say on the subject except, remember that, as in the event of a passenger not having a safety belt fitted, the driver is the person charged and fined.

I hate seeming to "preach", but if it saves a life, it is worth it!

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Gibraltar unable to give driving tests for motorcycles.  4th March 2005

Just a little "humorous" note that brings home the fact that Gibraltar has only 30.000 inhabitants.  The motorcycle they use for people taking tests for a driving licence, owned by the government, has broken down and there is no cash in the budget to repair it.     How times have changed!

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Isn't it a rip-off?  10 March 2005

Our Ford Focus has now done just over 80.000 km in the 3-3/4 years that we have owned her from new, and being an ex-aircraft technician, I always believe in preventive maintenance, that is, when some thing is nearly worn out, change it.  Do not wait for it to expire, usually on a long journey.  With this in mind, I looked at the rear brake linings (drum brakes) and they are close to change time, so I trotted off to the local spares shop for a set of re-lined brake shoes.   It is a simple matter to change the rear brake hydraulic seals at the same time, and usually, very cheap as you only need four small rubber seals each side (two rings and two dust covers).

OLD METHOD.   Buy new brakeshoes, both sides: may be reconditioned as they can only wear out the linings, and a kit of seals.   Change the shoes and  return them for the deposit you pay when buying them so they can be recycled with new linings. 

Expected net cost, about .25 at the spares shop, which is normally cheaper than the car's agents.

NEW METHOD   You have to buy a kit which comprises the new shoes, all the springs which should not be expensive so fair enough, and two complete expensive cylinder assemblies, about 45 each, instead of just the seals.

Total cost 144 less discount, net 120.  However at the Ford Agency, you can buy the shoes on their own for 38. 

Having lived in South Africa for 25 years, we recycled just about everything there to save costs, even though most of the products were manufactured there.  In fact, few people know that just about all the RH drive BMW's are assembled in South Africa, as well as Mercedes, Toyotas, Fords, Opels, etc. in the massive factories.    Items such as filters for all vehicles, even heavy earthmoving equipment, are made there for a fraction of the cost here.

Anyway, I just thought I would get that off my chest.  Now I have to find a reputable workshop to reline these old shoes. When they were riveted on the shoes, I would do it myself, but for the last 25 years they have been bonded/glued in an oven, but it is still an easy job.   They are too good to throw away.  Life was so much easier in South Africa (where we lived for 25 years) in the old days when, due to the cost of imported parts, you could have Mercedes and BMW fuel pumps reconditioned, computer control boxes repaired, all with warranties and at a fraction of the cost of the new parts.  Here it is a throwaway society for which we all pay, except for my old BMW engine control computer where they charged me for a new box, and kept the old one: -- to have it repaired, no doubt.

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 Guardia Civil knows of the new FOREIGN EU Driving Licence rules in Spain.  15 March 2005

During a conversation with a senior Guardia Civil officer this week, the officer stated that they had been advised of the fact that foreigners with EU licences do not have to change them for Spanish ones.   The new law on the subject is yet to be issued.

Malaga area traffic police fine 273 drivers for illegally using a mobile phone.   During the recent blitz on drivers who use a mobile phone while on the road (note that the Law says that you must not even pull over to the side of the road as it can be an accident cause) a total of 273 drivers were issued with fines for breaking this Law. Only 174 drivers were fined for drinking and driving.  Most were caught by the police in unmarked cars (coches camuflados).

Now I sometimes feel a little "goody-goody" when I support just about all the driving laws, because I have a mobile phone and do not have a handsfree kit in our car.  But if anyone phones while I am driving, and my wife is not with me, I let it ring on because I can always call them back later.

During one ten-day period in February, my car was twice almost sideswiped by drivers on mobile phones.  One near our home, drove straight through a Stop street sign and braked hard to avoid me, although I was at the 30 kph speed limit.   His hand was glued with a mobile to his ear and of course, he did not want to change gear to stop and start.  Also, he was obviously angry with whoever was on telephone, and he took that anger out on me when I hooted to warn him I was there:  -- in broad daylight.  The other was on the N340 San Pedro/Ronda roundabout, where a driver with mobile glued to ear, in torrential rain, joined the roundabout on my right, probably expecting me to stop when I had right of way.  Both were angry drivers because they were having arguments on the phone.   This is why us humans cannot be expected to concentrate on two important actions at once.

No wonder there has to be a Law.   Why can we not use our intelligence and obey it?

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Advance question for the new (SAfety) driving test later this year. 

Translated for us "Ingles".

 You are driving along a two-lane road with a NO PASSING sign posted, and come upon a bicycle rider. Do you: -

 A.    Follow this slow moving bicycle rider for the next 2 miles?

 OR,

B.    do you break the law and pass?

Which is the correct choice?

Please scroll down...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer: It depends whether or not the wife or girl-friend is with you!

  Sent by a reader

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THE "BLITZES" ARE STARTING.    14 June 2005

Report from the Round Town News.

Police stop illegal foreign plated cars on the Costa Blanca.

 Motorists driving British registration vehicles around Quesada on Wednesday were in for a shock when they reached the roundabout that feeds Quesada, Benijofar, San Miguel, and the A-37 Alicante- Cartagena motorway, where traffic police were having a blitz-day as part of a campaign promised by them for June.

Witnesses reported "up to 22 cars" being pulled up and denounced by zealous officials, giving motorists trapped in the traffic more to sweat about than the weather! Although a written warning is the norm, police are advising the public that from this month they will be confiscating vehicles!
Legally you are entitled to drive a foreign-registration vehicle in Spain for six months a year. Your car can remain here permanently, but must be garaged and off the road for six months. You should also remember that if your car is not legal, you have no insurance cover, whilst your car should be insured in the country it is registered in.

The procedure for re-registering is covered in the May Update pages.

Bearing in mind that if you are caught you will not only have to pay the fine and costs incurred for recuperating a confiscated vehicle, BUT ALSO the re-registration tax before you will get your transport back! So it may be easier, and of course legal, to get the car onto Spanish plates.   

The cost of converting and re-registering for Spain varies depending on the car, but an average figure would be 400 to 800.

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 The Spanish Justice System.  23 June 2005

On the 6th June at 10 am, a denuncia with a 300 fine (multa) was issued to a lady who lives on the Costa Blanca near Alicante  for speeding at 72,3 kph in a ?? zone.  Why the ??s, because the document advising the multa did not specify which road and where the offence occurred.  See below.   The lady's details have been blocked out for privacy reasons.

Note that the "P-Kilometrico" and "Con direccion a" have been left blank.   So how can she know if it was actually her there as there may have been a mistake made and her vehicle may have been miles away at that time?     Jennifer took an abogado's advice, and he advised her to pay the fine. Probably because it would be much more expensive again to go to Court in  a year's time and this is common here in Spain.

Now I am not against people being fined for speeding as you will see soon with another example of how they can cause serious accidents, but the case must be made with all the evidence presented so that the plaintiff knows for sure that it was him or her.  Another point is, why wasn't she stopped at the time?   The plaintiff has every right to inspect the equipment used to check the speed. which again is not stated on the denuncia.   Was it radar or what?   I will check with our legal experts on this one, because my experience elsewhere is that not only does speed trapping equipment have to be calibrated regularly by an independent person, but the officers operating it also have to be tested at specific times.  If the times have expired, the case can be successfully fought even without going to Court.

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ITV CERTIFICATES ON FOREIGN VEHICLES IN SPAIN.  8 July 2005

I have received several mails advising that residents here, especially on the Costa Blanca, have been taking and have had done, the Inspeccion Tecnica de Vehiculos (ITV) on their foreign plated cars.   This they believe makes them legal as far as having a roadworthy vehicle is concerned.  OK, it will be accepted by the Guardia Civil and the local policia but just think!  It also will cause them to think, this vehicle must be illegal for the UK tax disc is out of date or missing, the driver has shown proof of having a property here in Spain and he/she looks old enough to have retired, and they have had it ITV-ed so it must have been here over a year or more.  We must check further!

The authorities are having a blitz on these owners who are using their foreign plated cars here illegally, as detailed in my book, and also not paying local taxes, and possibly not being insured if their insurance company does not know that it is being used here for more than the usual three months allowed as a tourist.  And often the insured is supposed to advise the company of their touring in a foreign country prior to leaving. Those of you in this position, get it in writing from your insurance broker that you are indeed fully covered for your stated use of your vehicle, that is 100% here.   I have had one letter complaining that a local insurance broker has been taking the premiums for his UK plated car and has never told him that he could be illegal.   However if the address on the policy certificate is the Spanish one, I would not be concerned about this.  If it is the home one outside of Spain, then be concerned, very concerned and talk to your broker about it.

However dear reader, it is not their responsibility to do this and as we used to get told when I was a youngster, ignorance of the law is no excuse.  It is your responsibility to find out.

Sorry to be the bearer of possible bad news but it is better that you know now before the "big fine" is handed out, and you still have to get legal but with a 15 days time limit to do it in!

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ANATOMY OF AN ACCIDENT.

The photos below are to supplement the information in the pages 181 to 184 in the Second Edition book.

The scene showing the trees and the approach skid marks.  They are easy to measure even weeks later due to the photo showing that they start just before the white arrow painted on the road but actually start closer to where the other car is shown.   The photo foreshortens the distance but the marks from the start of the rubber on the road to the collision point were 35 paces, measured at a metre each.  After colliding with the rear wheel of my car, the speeding driver continued with her cars' wheels locked (skid marks on the road) for another 3 + metres. The collision point is where the skid marks suddenly angle left in the photo.` Calculations of her sped show that she was travelling in excess of 100 kph in an area where, with all the traffic turning, should have been closer to 30 kph (the signed limit was 60 kph).

The scene above and below shows the heavy traffic still turning left from the right of the photo some ten minutes after the collision, and the slip roads.

Below, the scene approaching the accident.  The 80 kph sign has been passed and the 60 kph sign is clear to see.  The shadows under the trees will slightly affect visibility, but a good driver would allow for this and not approach a busy intersection at even 60 kph with many cars turning across your path.

The good news is that although told at the time, as described in the book, that I was at fault as I moved across a stop street (after waiting there for 25 - 30 seconds for traffic to clear), my insurance company, based on my reports as here and others, has not penalised me as far as my No Claims Bonus is concerned.  I only hope the other driver now slows down at road junctions and does not kill anybody.

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TESTING OF NEW CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR MOTOR VEHICLES  15 July 2005

Reports from the UK show that the UK government is spending taxpayer's money on tests of the control of motor vehicles by satellite and roadside sensors.  As reported in the Auto-Express Weekly, continuing designs and tests of devices, by manufacturers such as Toyota, fitted to vehicles where in the event of a situation arising where a driver may be going too fast in a particular spot, the local sensor will signal to an onboard control to slow the vehicle down.   Sounds great as long as all vehicles have them fitted.  Just imagine the effect when your vehicle has the device and the young lad behind who is almost touching your rear bumper with his front one, in other words bullying you to pull over when you cannot, and your vehicle suddenly slows down without you touching any control.

Also, the location of vehicles from a satellite is being discussed by the UK government for road charging purposes.  Although the proposed system is terribly flawed, it would be relatively simple to have the system work out if you are speeding and automatically add a fine (and licence points) to your road charge bill, if the system is introduced.   Personally, I cannot see it happening because it is fraught with potential problems where the system can be controlled by a driver who has electronic skills.

What has this got to do with Spain?  Systems started there are often soon spread throughout the EU: look at speed cameras!  And if they are self-financing with fines or an income, watch out!

NOW HERE IS A PROBLEM FOR OUR GUARDIA CIVIL BOYS?

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ARE YOUR HEAD RESTRAINTS CORRECTLY ADJUSTED? 

23 Aug 2005

One of the painful effects of a sudden urgent stop, especially for your passengers who may not be ready for it, is where the neck is subjected to what we know as "whiplash".  As you must know, but I repeat it in case you do not, this is where due to sudden and violent deceleration, the head speeds forward and then "whips" back as a reaction to the sudden stop.   All modern cars are fitted with a vertically adjustable pad that is behind the head area of the front two people, and in many vehicles, the rear ones as well.

The problem is that if these pads are not at the correct height for the person's head, injury can be just as serious as if there were no pads at all.  So please, for your, and your passengers' sakes, make sure that they are adjusted so the rear of the head contacts the middle of the pad area when the head is moved back simulating a sudden stop. 

It only takes 30 seconds and could save someone's life or possible injury, -- and you, damages.

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Digital Tacographs Now Law23 August, 2005

As advised in May, the new law stating that all vehicles registered for the first time that have a MAM of over 3.500 kg, or the designed capability to carry more than nine people including the driver, must be fitted with a tacograph.  This from the 5th August 2005.  

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Country Stickers  24 August 2005

An interesting piece of information from the Internet, AA-UK web site.  Outside of the EU, the new EU number plates are not recognised as far as the country of origin note, eg "E" or "GB", etc.    If you are visiting a non-EU State, you must apparently still have the white background, black letters sticker for the country of origin (where it is currently registered) sticker.

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Useless Information Department  24 August 2005

There are countries in the world (outside of Moslem states) where driving and drinking is strictly forbidden.  God forbid that it should occur here, but there are precedents, albeit in countries that have, or did have, authoritarian governments, and serious problems with D & D.  By the look of them, the drink was probably Vodka.  They are Belarus, Croatia, Czech. Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Moldavia, Romania, The Russian Federation, Slovakia and Ukraine.

END.

 UPDATE SEPT2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

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