Side B of the fact that the DGT has prohibited the margin of 20 km/h to overtake, according to Pere Navarro

The most controversial measure new Traffic Law, already in forceis the one eliminates the margin of 20 km/h to overtake on conventional roads. And Pere Navarro has spoken about it again, alluding to security reasons because this “law is to save lives, not to win votes.”

In addition, the director of the DGT has also recognized that this measure will favor the placement of more section radars even though previously had assured that no more control was foreseen in these routes.

We analyze Navarro’s words and review what the experts say about this measure, which ultimately is aimed at reducing overtaking on conventional roads.

“Something had to be done with the conventional ones” but, will it translate into fewer claims?

So much in the digital meeting in which Pere Navarro has answered Internet users in relation to the new fines, as in a interview granted to the agency Servimedia, the Director General of Traffic puts the emphasis on secondary roads, overtaking and head-on collisions. And always alluding to reducing road fatalities.

frontal crashes. “239 deaths from head-on collision on a secondary road in 2019. Period. Something has to be done.”

It is true that head-on collisions on interurban roads were one of the most frequent causes of fatal accidents in 2019, representing 27%.

But the road exits were the leading cause of road accidents with deaths (41%), according to the balance of claims for that year. And a track exit does not always imply that it derives from an overtaking.

Overtaking, the most dangerous maneuver. “Overtaking is probably the most risky maneuver in driving. On these roads you share the direction of traffic, that is, there are vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.”

Although it cannot be denied that this is the case, what is not so clear is that suppressing the margin helps to facilitate overtaking on these roads, since it can mean more time to execute the maneuver unable to exceed the limit.

For example, if a truck travels at 80 km/h, which is the maximum speed at which these heavy vehicles can travel on conventional roads, a car or motorcycle can overtake at a maximum of 90 km/h. Before you could reach 110 km/h without fear of a fine, but now that’s not the case.

Speed ​​limits on intercity roads per vehicle

Navarro was asked precisely about this in the digital meeting, to which he replied that “In no country around us does this margin exist. Having that margin of 20 km/h encourages overtaking”.

Thus, and based on these arguments, it follows that what the DGT is looking for with this measure is prevent overtaking. It’s more, Navarro already pointed out at the time that “it’s okay to go behind a truck”.

Whether the measure is effective or not, will be seen with figures in hand, at least as regards a reduction in frontal crashes. For this reason, Navarro has already recognized that a year will be given to assess its impact. Although he has also pointed out that this does not imply that it will be eliminated.

At least it leaves the door open to other measures that could facilitate overtaking on these roads without the prohibition in the equation. It is the case of the 2+1 roadsin which there is an exclusive lane for overtaking.

“We are going to do 2+1. That is, sections where you can make two lanes where you can overtake without invading the opposite lane and without coming into conflict with vehicles coming from the other direction.”

More section radars in conventional

Sign with a limit of 90 km/h on conventional roads

Before this measure came into force, Pere Navarro analyzed it in the Informative Meeting ‘Reform of the Traffic and Road Safety Law’organized by Europa Press and in collaboration with CEPSA.

At that time, when asked if the abolition of the limit to overtake would bring about more radars to check compliance with the measurethe director of the DGT assured that they did not plan to increase surveillance.

“We do not see the need,” he asserted, in addition to pointing out that “one of the lines of work is to reinforce road education and training.”

But in the digital meeting of the DGT he has now recognized that this measure “can favor the installation, in the future, of more section radars. And the stage radars are considered fairer than the stall ones.”

Why? Well, Navarro states that before, with the margin of 20 km / h, a driver could claim that he had exceeded the speed in a given section because he had overtaken.

But this can only be applied in the event that the average speed would have been a maximum of 110 km/h, since in the secondary the generic maximum limit is 90 km/h.

Section radar operating scheme

Source: DGT

Be that as it may, Traffic has already confirmed which this year will premiere 16 new section radars, although without specifying what kind of roads they will be placed on. At the end of 2021, these point-to-point speed control devices were encrypted at 92.

And how many section radars are there on secondary roads? According to El Mundo, 70% of them are on these roads. From Motorpasión we have contacted the DGT to have first-hand the current figures, and we are waiting for the response. Of course in 2020, they were more than half.

This same medium highlights that about half of the sanctions imposed by fixed or section radars bring together half of the complaints that Traffic imposes for speeding.

What do the experts say about the new standard?

Truck on secondary road

Although Pere Navarro has affirmed that this measure “technicians see it all as logical and reasonable“, from several drivers’ associations point out the opposite.

It is the case of Associated European Motorists (AEA)because its director, Mario Arnaldo, has pointed to Motorpasión that: “Neither in the bill nor in the parliamentary processing of Congress no technical report provided nor economic that endorses that measure”.

And Ignacio Fernández, director of the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE)who considers that the measure should have had a technical debate: “It has not been proven that it is a measure that contributes to a reduction in road accidents.”

Previously this entity stated: “A priori, end the margin of 20 km/h does not meet any security criteria. On the contrary, with that extra speed, overtaking is faster and, therefore, safer”.

Thus, it is argued that, predictably, the time and distance to execute an overtaking will be increased: “Expanding both the time and the distance to carry out a dangerous maneuver,” explains Fernández.

On the other hand, Arnaldo of AEA considers that the measure will suppose a signage change since: “In two out of three sections of conventional roads where overtaking is allowed, it should be prohibited”. That is, a greater investment.

He also criticizes that, for now, this change has not been made: “The signage continues to authorize that overtaking, causing a situation of cheating and misinformation.”

As for whether it is a collection measure, the director of AEA states that he does not see it that way, although he does believe that it could translate into a increased penaltiessince the drivers will continue looking for the maneuver to last as little as possible and will not pay attention to whether they exceed the limit or not.

car speedometer

Although the DGT has allies regarding this measure. For example from the PONS Foundation They explain to us that the measure was anachronisticsince it was implemented in the 90s to facilitate the flow of traffic and due to the lack of highways and motorways.

“It was intended to facilitate overtaking in a Spain where large journeys were made on these types of roads. The measure now does not have the reasons or the motives it had then. That it disappears assimilates us and makes us more homologous to European legislation,” says Ramón Ledesma, advisor to PONS Mobility.

Although they do not consider that it will have an impact on road safety, what will help is to consolidate the limit at 90 km/h.

On the other hand, Jesús Monclú, director of Prevention and Road Safety of the Mapfre Foundation, positively values ​​the measure: “Eliminating the margin allows the use of speed cameras for sections, a clearly promising measure. Now, we have to change our mental chip and not try to immediately overtake a vehicle that is traveling at 80 or 90 km/h, since we will only be able to do it on clearer sections of road.”

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