Unmarked Motorbikes for the Guardia Civil
The traffic department of the Guardia Civil already use unmarked cars on some speed monitoring campaigns and during other enforcement activities such as monitoring the use of seatbelts or mobile phones whilst driving. Unmarked cars can also be used on covert surveillance.
This latest announcement would see traffic officers taking to the streets on unmarked motorbikes, which would not only allow for greater monitoring of vehicles, but it would mean that deployment is both quicker and more adaptable to a variety of roads.
The unmarked bikes would not only be able to monitor cars and larger vehicles, but their size and speed would allow for better monitoring of the activities of more vulnerable road users such as motorbikes and cyclists, both of whom have equal rights on the roads, but also have equal responsibility to abide by the same laws.
Carrying a Bike Behind Your Car
There are two main points we must keep in mind when carrying a load at the rear of the vehicle;
Firstly, our lights and number plates must be clearly visible and secondly, we must be conscious of whether the bike protrudes from the rear and the sides of the vehicle
It is essential to buy a suitable carrying frame that will not only fit a bicycle, but it must also fit securely to our vehicle. Additional lighting must be fitted at the rear that replicates the vehicle’s rear lights, indicators, brake lights etc, and number plate.
Once the frame is secure, consider the bike and how it fits on the secured carrying frame and you may have to display one or two additional warning signs, the V-20, which is a square panel (50cm x 50cm) with diagonal and alternating stripes of white and red.
If the bike is less than the maximum width of the vehicle from the rear (including the rear-view mirrors), a single V-20 signal should be placed at the end of the load and perpendicular to the axis of the vehicle. If the bike protrudes longitudinally, occupying the entire width of the vehicle (including the rear-view mirrors), the car should carry two V-20 signals in the rear, placed transversely at each end of the load in such a way that the red and white stripes form the geometry of an inverted “V”.
How is your Eyesight?
It might seem like an obvious statement, but visibility is one of the most important factors when driving.
Over time, our eyesight can deteriorate. It is very common, but the biggest problem often is that the deterioration is subtle, taking time to worsen. Often, when we do have an eye test and put spectacles on for the first time following a test, the difference is astounding.
More than 1,000 opticians all over Spain will carry out a free vision test as part of a review campaign to try and get people seeing better when driving.
More than two million drivers recognise that they have vision problems, especially driving at night (30%), and when it comes to clearly seeing road signs (17%).
When travelling long distances, you should stop every two hours or 200km. However, 72% of drivers admit that they never make a stop, a figure that reaches 80% in the case of those over 56 years.
Half of drivers do not wear polarized sunglasses when driving.
Grupo Essilor, a firm which works in the optics sector, together with the FIA (International Automobile Federation), the RACE (Real Automobile Club of Spain) and CEPSA, have launched a campaign which will run during the summer months, during which drivers who stop at any of Cepsa’s service stations will have information available with recommendations to review and protect their vision.
Renting a Car – Your European Rights
Although there are no specific EU rules on car rental, when you rent a car in another EU country, you have fundamental rights as a consumer:
The right to clear information
The right to a fair contract
Access to alternative dispute resolution in case of conflict with the company.
When renting a vehicle, you have to distinguish between rental companies and intermediaries or mediators. Intermediaries do not rent vehicles, but reserve them with the rental company on behalf of the consumer. In case of conflict, the rental company is exclusively responsible for executing the contract, unless the latter says otherwise.
Right of limited cancellation
If you have reserved a vehicle through the internet, telephone or mail in the EU, you do not automatically have the right to cancel the reservation and ask for a refund.
The rental of vehicles is not included in the EU regulations that establish a reflection period of 14 days.
Principle of non-discrimination
Vehicle rental companies are free to set their prices and conditions in different EU countries based on their costs and other factors. If you rent a vehicle – either online or by going in person to a company branch – European rules prohibit discrimination based on nationality or country of residence.
Before booking a vehicle, make sure you have understood the conditions correctly. The main aspects that you should notice are:
Insurance coverage – All rental vehicles must be covered by civil liability insurance against third parties, valid in all EU countries. The insurance must be included in the rental price. You can obtain coverage for other risks: injury to the driver, damage to the vehicle, theft of the vehicle or your personal effects, vandalism or legal defence. Make sure you know what damage your insurance covers. This must appear in the general conditions of the rental contract.
Driving a rented vehicle in another country – If you want to drive a rented vehicle in several countries, you must inform the company when booking the vehicle. If you are authorised to take the vehicle to another country, ensure that you carry the correct documentation, as well as insurance and coverage in the event of a breakdown. The rental company must ensure that the vehicle complies with the customs and traffic regulations of the country for which you are going to travel. For example, in many countries winter tires are mandatory for certain months of the year.
If you drive in other EU countries, check the information on road safety.
Validity of driving licence – If you want to rent and drive a vehicle in another EU country, you should also check if your licence is valid in that country.
For more information about your rights as a European citizen, visit the official site of the European Community, europa.eu
Latest Drink and Drug Driving Figures Show Alarming Results
The campaign, which ran from the 4th-10th June, revealed that every day 450 drivers were detected having consumed alcohol or drugs; almost 19 every hour. More alarming is the fact that to this figure we must consider those drivers who were not detected.
During the week-long period, officers from the Guardia Civil traffic police stopped 173.783 drivers and subjected them to alcohol and/or drugs tests and 12% of randomly chosen drivers tested positive for alcohol and drugs above legal limits.
4,469 drugs tests that were done on drivers who had displayed signs or symptoms of having ingested a substance, committed a violation or being involved in an incident. 1,461 were positive (33% of the total). Among the drugs most commonly used by these drivers are cannabis (1,047 cases), cocaine (498 cases) and amphetamines (178 cases).
174,689 blood alcohol control tests were carried out and 1,774 drivers tested positive and 239 have had their cases presented to the courts. In addition, cases against 11 drivers have been brought to justice for refusing to carry out alcohol tests.
In Murcia, in the Santomera service station, the driver of an 18-ton articulated vehicle was driving five times the maximum rate of alcohol!