N332 July 2017

Getting Fined Without Moving

Excessive speed or driving whilst using a mobile phone are two of the most common causes for which you can receive a traffic sanction, but it is also possible to be fined without your vehicle moving and not only for parking where you shouldn't!

Many drivers seem oblivious to the fact that you can be fined for washing your car in the street, or for carrying out repairs. Although the fines are largely symbolic, depending on the municipality, they exist none the less. Water, oil and other deposits can interfere with the road surface and can become a risk. There are also environmental concerns over the disposal of waste such as water, or other fluids. Car wash facilities have complex recycling and drainage systems to minimise waste of the precious commodity of water.

Not having a clean car can result in a fine! Even if the vehicle isn't going to move, the lights and reflectors and the number plates must be kept clear if the vehicle is moving, so must the windows.
Having a number plate in a poor condition, whether you are driving or not, can result in a fine of 80€. If the vehicle is permitted on the road, the number plate must be clear.

More offences liable for a fine:
Not wearing a high visibility vest if you leave your vehicle in an emergency.
Not placing warning triangles, or putting them in the wrong place. Creating excessive noise or disturbances such as using the horn inappropriately.

There are a number of fines possible at petrol stations; some of these pose a serious risk:
You must not smoke when refuelling, or light incendiaries such as matches.
You are not permitted to refuel with your lights on, or the engine running.
You are not allowed to use your mobile phone or have the radio on.

Any of these activities can lead to a 200€ fine and the loss of 3 points.

If you have moved house and you have not notified the DGT of your new address, you can also receive a sanction. It is a simple process and it's free, so it is worth notifying them as soon as possible.

Pedestrian Lights – 2017 Style

We are hopefully all aware of pedestrian crossings and the signs and signals used to indicate how we interact with these locations; red and green men, traffic lights, even Belisha beacons, but as the world around us changes, so does the need to adapt signs and signals in order for them to be noticed.

The image of sulky teens with their heads bowed down reading their mobiles might be an easy one for our mind to conjure up, but as social media, messaging, live news, updates and our digital assistants follow us in our pocket devices, it is becoming more common for our phones to serve as a greater distraction as we walk down the street.

In cities like Murcia, signs have been painted on the pavement warning pedestrians to be more alert, often accompanied in areas with tactile paving and ribbed tiles designed to help those with visual impairment now helping those who choose to not look ahead.

A new type of light alert has been installed to prevent mobile phone distractions in the Netherlands. It is called, +Lichtlijn. The new system has been located at a pedestrian crossing at an intersection near several schools. It consists of a line of light integrated into the sidewalk that changes from red to green, synchronised with the main traffic light and is visible by pedestrians looking at their mobile phones.

What do you think?
Is this a good development?
Let us know your thoughts by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Never Leave Valuables on Show

Opportunistic thieves are everywhere and they will target any vehicle where valuables are on show.

Thieves will target any personal items left on show. If you must leave items in your car, put them under the seat or in any compartments available. If you have a parcel shelf, always use it to cover up shopping or personal items.

Do We Have to Wear a Hat?

John asked, "Is it true that drivers of open top cars must wear some sort of hat to protect them from the intense rays of the sun?"

The answer according to law is 'no'!
There is a chance that wearing a hat would prove dangerous if it is not worn correctly. The wind could catch it and blow it away and this could then become a potential hazard to other road users such as cyclists.

It makes sense to wear a hat in order to protect yourself from the sun and its damaging rays, but it is not a legal requirement.

Manufacturers of open-top cars design them to be as safe as cars with full roofs. They are often fitted with strengthened supports around the windscreen for example and roll bars, although these are not often as clearly identifiable as those fitted in rally cars. In commercially available vehicles they are often integral to the structure.

If we are positioned correctly, wearing our seatbelt in the correct manner, open-top cars are usually perfectly safe. Sometimes, vehicle occupants are seen with their hands held up or out of the cars and on a rare occasion even standing. You must keep your extremities, arms, legs etc., well within the confines of the vehicle for the roll bars to provide protection.

Sitting Correctly in a Car

It is an increasingly common sight to see passengers with their legs up and feet on the dashboard. This also occurs in all types of vehicles and seems to increase with the summer months. It is an extremely dangerous practice.

It is also illegal.

The legs and feet can obscure the driver's view and in the event of a collision there are two very common injuries, both of which often result in amputation. In the event of a collision, the airbags are normally deployed. If a passenger's legs are over these airbags they will feel the full force of that deployment, which normally results in fractures to the legs and sometimes pelvic damage. If airbags do not deploy it is easy for the body to be thrown forward, underneath the seatbelt, an action known as submarining. This forces the body, feet first, like a torpedo through the windscreen, resulting in severe lacerations, often accompanied by fractures.

The only safe way to sit in any vehicle is within the design of the seat, with seatbelt securely fastened.