As from yesterday, the 7th March 2011 (sorry for the late warning!) drivers in Spain have been forced to slow down on the roads as the Spanish Government has reduced the speed limit! This is definitely a good thing – there are way too many loonatics on the road – however, the reason for this reduction has nothing to do with road safety; it’s all about economics!
This new measure is the government’s response to rapidly rising oil prices due to the unrest in Arab countries such as Libya and is one of the principal initiatives to lower the countries energy bill. Until yesterday, the maximum speed on motorways (referred to as autopistas or autovías here) was 120 kph; this has now been lowered to 110 kph.
Road crews working for the transport ministry had a busy night on Sunday, replacing road signs all over the country. Actually, the signs haven’t been replaced, in most cases, large stickers have been placed over the existing signs. Why stickers? Because this measure is only temporary; it will remain in place until the end of June when it will be reviewed.
Also worth noting is the fact that all radar traps around the country (more than 400) have now been re-programmed. Anyone found speeding will be fined 100 Euros if caught driving at speeds of between 111 kph and 140 kph; if you are caught driving at over 140 kph the fine increases to 300 Euros. You have been warned!
Public opinion sways heavily against the measure with many saying that reducing the speed limit will only help to increase government coffers; just think of the speeding fines the Guardia Civil will be issuing. L
But there is some good news….commuters and passengers who use short distance rail services will be able to enjoy a 5% reduction in train fares; the perfect excuse to take a train from Benalmádena to Málaga and make the most of the sights and sounds of the Coast’s capital city!
What do you think? Will these measures have much of an impact on Spain’s energy bill? My experience on the motorway this morning leads me to believe that the answer to that question is a definite, NO!