Town halls hand out five times more traffic fines than Tráfico
How many times have you been fined because of a driving offence that you carried out since living and driving in Spain?
I’ve had two in the 12 years that I’ve lived here. One for illegal parking, which I genuinely didn’t know about, and the other for speeding, when I was unaware of the limit and that there was a camera about. Both times, the fine was issued by the local police.
A recent report carried out and published by insurance company Línea Directa, after studying the 1.8 million fines from their clients, has revealed that the town halls of Spain issue five times more traffic fines than the actual General Department of Traffic (Tráfico) itself.
Unfortunately, those that live or visit Madrid, Barcelona or Palma de Mallorca are most likely to receive a sanction for any offence committed on the road.
The report says that 76% of all sanctions for driving offences are given out by town halls, 14% by the DGT, and the remaining 10% from other administrative bodies.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the town halls issue a greater number of sanctions, the average amount that offenders are asked to pay is slightly less than the amount demanded by the DGT: 195 euro opposed to 210 euro.
And the report shows that sanctions given out in Spain’s larger cities are harsher than those emitted in other parts of the country, where the population density is much lower and there are fewer cars on the road.
A higher amount of traffic sanctions is generally emitted in the following cities than elsewhere: Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Granada, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Seville, Valencia, Malaga and Valladolid.
However, since the economic crisis which began in 2007, people are taking to their cars much less in order to travel around, and this has resulted in fewer sanctions issued by all authoritative bodies.
One of the main reasons for carrying out the study was to find out whether receiving a fine for their poor driving really did change the driver’s subsequent behaviour behind the wheel.
The conclusion was, in fact, no, it didn’t.
Between 2011 and 2014, the number of mortal accidents in an urban area actually increased 20%.
And the study also found out that 4 million drivers in Spain have admitted that they have been fined by the town hall as many as five times in the last five years, which ultimately shows that receiving a sanction for a driving offence does not curb their illegal behaviour on the road. Six out of ten drivers admitted that they regularly exceed the speed limit when driving around in their city.
The majority of fines are given out for speeding in Spain’s province capitals (44%), and this is followed by regulated parking (27%), wrongful parking, which would be on across a private driveway, double parking or on a double yellow line, for example. Only 5% of sanctions are issued for not respecting signs.
Almost 800,000 drivers have admitted to insulting or even injuring a traffic warden in this country, and the type of fine that they are unhappiest with would be one given for exceeding the time allowance on a parking meter or something similar.
According to the report, the typical profile of someone likely to receive a driving fine is a male driver between 35 and 44 years old, who has plenty of driving experience and who has already received previous sanctions. The least likely to be fined are females between the age of 18 and 24 who have no previous incidents on record.