This year, the Penalty Point system used to punish bad drivers on Spain´s roads celebrates its tenth birthday.
Adopted on the 1st of July, 2006, it was heralded as a major cultural change in Spanish society, and one that was praised for encouraging road safety and saving lives.
A significant point worth noting is the fact that there has been a significant drop in the number of incidents since its implementation, although this cannot be attributed entirely to the system, the penalty point system is a significant factor in reducing road deaths from 5,000 per year to 1,700.
The system was implemented by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the then President of the Spanish government, which was approved unanimously by Congress.
The previous system was based on fines and licence withdrawal, but education did not play a part in making drivers aware of their mistakes. Now, through the penalty system, not only is the system less stringent, it allows for education and a lesser sanction, along with the threat of losing the licence if the driver´s attitude and actions don´t change.
Associations representing the victims of traffic incidents also praised the implementation of the system at the time, as the voice of the victim had never been heard before. Now, a complete awareness of the actions of the driver, and what they mean for the victims, is integral.
During the ten year period, 214,150 people have still lost their licence for violating traffic law. In addition, 8,750 people have had their licence withdrawn twice, and 219 people have lost it three times or more.
In total, of the 25 million drivers currently on the roads in Spain, 7.5 million have lost some points. The main reasons are:
Not wearing a belt speed (11%).
Using a mobile device while driving (10%).
The detection of alcohol and drugs at the wheel.
Not wearing a helmet.