Tráfico has taken advantage of the Día Mundial sin Alcohol (World No Alcohol Day) to remind drivers that alcohol is the cause of 26% of all fatal road traffic accidents. Tráfico says, simply, “if you drink, don’t drive”, and links the advice with a new campaign this year entitled “In a fatal accident, who would you prefer to be? The survivor or the victim?” The video accompanying the campaign, which I’ve posted below, is very hard-hitting, and suggests very strongly that the question is not an easy one to answer since the survivor might be facing a living death.

To be clear on the rules, the idea that there is a zero alcohol limit for drivers in Spain is actually mistaken, but the limits are very strict indeed, being 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood = 0.25 mg per litre of exhaled air (slightly stricter for “professional” and newly-qualified drivers – 0.3g/l). 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.

Fines are €1,000 for drivers who have double the permitted alcohol level, or second offenders: there will also be 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. If a driver refuses an alcohol or drugs test, s/he will be 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 maximum €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.

Although there is not actually a zero tolerance to drink driving, there is one when it comes to drugs. If a driver’s saliva test demonstrates the presence of any drugs at all,  the fine is €1,000, plus a 6 point penalty.

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