STAFF REPORTER MADRID

THE second phase of Central Government's reform of road safety laws will come into effect in a week and will include “express” fines for a number of offences. The new ruling will also mean that points will be deducted from a licence for programming a GPS device whilst driving and parking in spaces reserved for invalid drivers.

Reportedly, the fines will be fast-tracked through bureaucracy to arrive sooner at the door of the offender and will avoid the temporary suspension of driving licenses for serious or “very serious” offences. All municipalities will have the same fining structure: up to 100 euros for non-serious offences, 200 for those that are serious and 500 for the very serious.

According to Central Government's Interior Minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, “this is the third major reform of road safety laws and completes the Government's commitment to crackdown on dangerous driving.” Up until now, Rubalcaba said, it could be two years before notification was received of points being deducted from a licence but with the “express” fines now being imposed, it will only be five months before the penalty is made effective.

Offences resulting in points being deducted from licences have gone down from 27 to 20, with the focus still on speeding, not paying attention whilst driving and being under the influence of alcohol.

Meanwhile, to drive on a motorway in a prohibited vehicle, carry too many passengers in one car, accelerate to avoid being overtaken, park in a bus lane, to drive without lights and to ride a motorcycle with children under 12 not provided with proper protection will mean a fine but not the loss of points from the licence.

To encourage rapid settlement, fines will be reduced by 50 percent if they are paid promptly (before it was a 30 percent reduction.)