In this mini-series we are taking a closer look at the ins and outs of hiring a car in Spain. Last time we looked at fuel policies, in this piece we look at speeding fines, how to pay them and how to avoid them.
35,479 speeding tickets issued in one week
In recent years the Spanish Authorities have become more and more concerned about the high number of road traffic accidents and consequent injuries and fatalities throughout the country; and hence they have adopted a rigorous approach to reducing the number of speed limit infringements.
In addition to radar traps and radar guns used by the Guardia Civil, there is a wide-spread use of speed cameras and there is even ‘an eye in the sky’, the airborne ‘Pegasus’ radar.
This does mean the Drivalia team in Alicante are aware of an increasing number of car rental customers receiving fines.
According to a recent article in The CoastRider “The Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) in its latest road safety campaign that took place between August 19th and August 25th this month  checked the speed of almost 1,000,000 vehicles (952,903), of which 35,479 were issued with tickets for exceeding the speed limit where they were checked.” (The emphasis is mine). The article continues: “There were four cases of drivers being caught travelling at excessively high speeds. One driver in Malaga was logged at 219 km an hour in a 120 km per hour limit. Another driver in Valencia on the AP-7 was caught driving at 252 km per hour again with the normal limit being 120 km per hour.”
They know where you live
Now, as a tourist, you might ask whether you need to worry about getting caught for speeding. Well, just like a resident, any foreign driver caught exceeding the legal speed limit will receive a fine. And of course, if you have been caught on film, it could be that you know nothing about it until a demand notice drops through your letter box at home some weeks or months later. Under Spanish law your car rental company must, when asked, supply the details of the person registered as the driver of the vehicle caught exceeding the speed limit. They have no choice and so the authorities will know where you live.
For the car rental company this means retrieving, scanning and forwarding the contract, with the driver’s contact details, to the authorities. In common with most, if not all, car rental companies, Drivalia in Alicante charges the renter an administration fee of (currently) 35€ for doing this; although at the moment Drivalia is waiving this charge for those customers who have taken out the company’s premium insurance cover.
How to pay a Spanish Speeding Fine
Should a request for the payment of a Spanish speeding fine (or other driving offence) arrive in your mail you will have 30 days (from the date the notice was issued) to pay the fine; and if you do so promptly the fine will be reduced. You can now pay online at the Dirección General de Tráfico’s official website.
This page is in English and you will need the following:
Your Passport number
The date of the report (as shown on the Penalty Notice) ‘Fecha Denuncia’
The Record Number ‘N. Expediente’ (without hyphens and decimal points)
The Total of the fine (Importe total multa)
Your ‘early payment’ discount will be applied and after paying by credit card a receipt will be issued.
This same system works for parking fines too.
If you are a Drivalia customer and have any questions about a fine received from the traffic police, or any other official body, just contact the team: they will be happy to give advice, without charge. Of course, they are not qualified to give any legal advice.
Avoid a speeding ticket
Naturally, you will want to avoid paying any fines at all so the best advice we can give is be aware of the speed restrictions at all times and look out for radar warning signs like the one below. And be aware, the cameras can be set up to log average speeds between two points. Just 1Km/h over the limit can attract a fine.
As a general guide the current speed limits are:
In built-up areas: 50 km/h (31 mph)
Outside built-up areas: 90 km/h (55 mph)
On main roads: 100 km/h (62 mph)
On major roads and motorways: 120 km/h (74 mph)
But specifically, look out for signs.
Visit the Drivalia website for more tips on driving in Spain.