The Breathalyser And How It Works In Spain
The Breathalyser And How It Works If You Get Pulled Over In Spain
According to the National Road Safety Observatory of Spain’s Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), which is the government department responsible for the Spanish road transport network, one in every four fatal road accidents is due to alcohol and is the second-highest cause of accidents in the country, as reported by diariosur.es.
This is the reason why regular controls are carried out on the roads says the DGT – in an effort to prevent this statistic from growing – by specially trained officers from the Guardia Civil’s Traffic Group (AGTC), which involves the use of the breathalyser system of testing drivers for excess use of alcohol or drugs.
Julio Pérez, a specialist in Drug Addiction at the National Road Safety Observatory of the DGT said, “After 40 years of alcohol testing, we are more aware that drinking alcohol is incompatible with safe driving. With the progressive increase in the control of drug use by drivers, we intend to achieve the same objective”.
Two types of breathalyser are used, with different sensitivities, one for approximation or indicator, which detects the presence of alcohol; and another evidential one, which confirms the first result and specifies the exact amount of alcohol in expired air. Its operation must always be certified by the National Metrology Institute.
Paula Márquez, the deputy director attached to the National Road Safety Observatory of the DGT told how the strategic objective in the 2030 Agenda, “is to halve the number of injuries and deaths in road accidents also related to alcohol consumption, as well as those related to psychoactive substances. Alcohol is the drug that gives the highest number of positives. It is still the main cause of impaired driving”.
When your breathalyser shows a negative result then you are free to continue your journey, but, explains Juan Carlos Hernández, a sergeant at the AGTC, you could also be tested for the consumption of drugs if you are showing symptoms, “Depressant drugs cause tiredness, listlessness, red eyes, and a pasty speech. The more you consume, the more it affects the balance and coordination”.
He continued, “On the other hand, substances such as cocaine produce nervous behavior and the speech becomes confused. If they are very affected by drugs, they can be sanctioned by the courts, but most of the sanctions are administrative”.
Adding, “There is less awareness of the harm that drugs do. Many drivers think that, although they consume, it does not prevent them from driving safely”, explaining that drug tests are carried out on a sample of the driver’s saliva and can detect the consumption of five different types of drugs, with cannabis and cocaine being the most frequent, and if a test shows positive, then a confirmatory test in a laboratory is necessary.
Fees and penalties, according to the DGT:
The Road Safety law establishes the maximum levels of alcohol allowed for drivers (0.25 gm/l in air and 0.5 gm/l in blood), as well as the total prohibition of driving with the presence of drugs in the body. When a driver exceeds these limits in a control, there is an administrative infraction and these sanctions are applied (fine and loss of points)
• 0.25-0.50 mg / l -> € 500 and 4 points.
• + 0.5 mg / l -> € 1,000 and 6 points.
• Repeat offenders -> € 1,000 and 4 or 6 points depending on the rate.
• Presence of narcotics -> € 1,000 and 6 points.
But in the most serious cases, driving with positive alcohol or under the influence of drugs, as well as refusing to take the test, can constitute crimes against traffic safety with prison sentences of up to six months and deprivation of the right to drive from one to four years.
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