Due to sheer volume of questions, complaints and exclaims of absolute shock, this article will discuss the increase of traffic fines issued over recent months. Even though some of them seem like pretty obvious offences, people fall for them time and time again either out of unfortunate timing, lapse in attention or simply not knowing they were breaking any regulations. It won’t come as a surprise to know that approximately 50% of all fines issued are for speeding but take a look at the Top Ten ridiculous traffic fines to be avoided:
- Improper use of headlights: Divided into two categories – lights to see (low beam and full beam) and lights to be seen (reverse, indicators, brakes, hazard and fog). A local Town Hall councillor has recently been found guilty of running over five people after the Romerías in Majanicho back in 2011, held accountable in part for not using the correct headlights for the road he was travelling on that could have prevented the accident. Fines from the 200 euro mark.
- Not carrying a license or driving on an expired one: Normally police agents can check on their on board computers if a driver holds a correct license so this offence does not usually entail a fine but driving on an out-of-date license carries a 200 euro fine.
- Going through a yellow light: Although traffic lights may not be a common feature on Fuerteventura, it is not unusual to come across flashing yellow lights in villages so while you can go through these particular traffic lights in yellow, they will turn red if the approaching vehicle exceeds the established speed limit. Going through a standard yellow light is the same as running a red light and the fine would be around 200 euros plus 4 points of your license.
- Overtaking on a continuous line: Readers have complained of recent fines issued on the island for driving so close to a continuous line their car touched it but according to Traffic Regulations, a continuous line should never be crossed (so no overtaking) or even driven upon.
- Emergency kit: Every car must be fitted out with a basic kit to include triangles, fluorescent safety vest and a tyre repair kit. As an additional precaution, it would be a good idea to carry spare bulbs also. Fines from 200 euros.
- Warning of police presence: How many times whilst driving have we received a friendly warning from fellow drivers to say police are up ahead? The method of f
lashing drivers is an 80 euro finable offence.
- Flicking cigarettes out the car window: This is a risky habit that could possibly cause fires or impede the vision of the driver following behind. You would be looking at a fine of 200 euros plus 4 points off your license.
- Dirty or worn license plates: Number plates should be kept clean and in good condition and should in no way make it impossible for the police or others to identify the vehicle. They should also be sticker and publicity free otherwise the driver may end up driving off with a harsh 200 euro fine.
- Driving and parking on pavements: Fines range around the 200 euro mark but in some areas such as La Oliva, local law also prohibits washing or repairing cars (even your own) on the public street and could earn the driver a whopping 750 euro fine!
- Eating, drinking or applying make-up: It is something most drivers have been guilty of at some point but if you are caught doing any of these whilst behind the wheel of a car, you will in all likelihood find yourself stumping up for a hefty fine. Article 11 of Spanish Road Safety Law states that drivers must be in optimum conditions to control their vehicles and must adopt the necessary precautions when approaching other road users for their safety especially in the case of children, the elderly, the blind and disabled (or visually and mobility impaired persons to be more politically correct). Drivers are obligated to retain freedom of movement and must pay constant attention to the road and its surroundings so anything that interferes with this obligation is deemed finable. For example eating and drinking are considered mild offences (100 euro fine) but use of headphones or speaking on mobile phones are considered serious (200 euro fine plus 3 points off your license).
Perhaps the last point on the Top Ten list is being abused if recent cases are anything to go by. On 04/06/2015, a driver in Salamanca, Spain, was fined 80 euros for biting her nails whilst driving. Another example is that of a Canarian lawyer who was stopped by the Guardia Civil who then accused him of talking on the phone behind the wheel. When he was able to prove that his last call was from the previous day and he was in actual fact scratching his ear, the Guardia decided to fine him 60 euros for constantly holding his ear with his right hand!
Other common offences:
- Unnecessary use of the horn: 80 euros
- Accelerating to prevent the car behind from overtaking: 200 euros
- No keeping minimum 1,5m distance when overtaking cyclists: 200 euros
- Pulling over in inappropriate places: From 80 euros
- Resting your arm on the window: 80 euros
- Excessively loud music: From 80 – 6.000 euros in some regions
- Not obeying road signs (one-way systems, pedestrian areas, parking etc): 200 euros
My only advice would be to pay special attention to your surroundings and to familiarize yourself with traffic regulations as many get caught out for simple errors, lining the Government’s pocket with hard-earned cash that is much better off in your own pocket!