Update 23 December: As of 3pm today, Tráfico’s full Christmas campaign has started. It will last until Sunday 8 January, and comprise 1,628 cameras, 2,409 data stations, 2,251 message panels, and 12 helicopters all monitoring and advising traffic throughout Spain. The Guardia are serious in wanting to bring down the number of deaths on Spain’s roads over the Christmas period, and are making no bones about it. Drive safely and soberly, or watch out.
Original post 13 December: Tráfico has started its Christmas campaign, checking drivers throughout the country for alcohol and drug levels. The Guardia Civil says that accidents always soar at this time of the year, with work parties, and private and public celebrations. This particular campaign, with 25,000 checkpoints nationally, runs from today until Sunday, 18 December, though there will be the usual increased police on the roads throughout the Christmas period.
Just to confirm some details:
- the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood = 0.25 mg per litre of exhaled air. As a general guide, two small glasses of wine or one small can of beer reaches the limit for a man of average build and weighing around 12 stone. For drivers who have double the permitted alcohol level, or second offenders, the fine is €1,000 with a 6 point penalty. For first offenders, or those with less than double the permitted alcohol level, the fine is €500 with a 6 point penalty.
- although there is a low legal limit for alcohol, when it comes to drugs, the limit is zero. If a driver’s saliva test demonstrates the presence of any drugs at all, the fine is €1,000, plus a 6 point penalty, and police say that detectable traces can remain even six hours after consumption.
- a driver who refuses an alcohol or drugs test is committing a further offence under article 383 of the Código Penal which can be penalised with a prison sentence of between six months and a year, and a driving ban of between one and four years. (First offenders won’t be imprisoned). This is in addition to an automatic €1,000 fine as though the driver had tested positive with double permitted alcohol level. Vehicles of drunk drivers will be impounded if there is no other (sober) driver who can take control.