Changes in driving regulations and in the penalties included in the Traffic Law. From this Monday, the fines for entering the so-called environmentally restricted areas in any city (the old Central Madrid or Plaza Elíptica, for example) will cost more than double. The legislative amendment raises from 90 to 200 euros the penalty for drivers who access all low-emission zones without their vehicle being enabled to do so.
Two additional months without fines in the central almond for the most polluting cars
The change is included in the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety that the national government approved in December of last year and that changes this type of behavior by category when it comes into force on March 21. Until now, access without permission in an environmentally protected area was considered a minor infraction. As of Monday, it will be classified as serious. Hence, the amount of the fine increases.
There are three Special Protection Low Emissions Zones (ZBEDEP) in operation in Madrid, decreed by the City Council, which are included in the Sustainable Mobility Ordinance that came to light in 2021. They are the Center Zone (previously Madrid Central), Plaza Elíptica and the one covering all inside the M-30. Each one has its own access rules, although the amount of the fines is the same.
The number of drivers that may be affected is unknown, since the three areas have only been operating for a short time in their current format. In Madrid Central, the fines have been effective since last December. In Plaza Elíptica since February 21 and within the M-30 they are not yet active due to the two-month extension that the Madrid City Council decided to grant when verifying the enormous number of vehicles that were ignoring the restrictions: in In less than two months, 78,000 drivers broke the restrictions.
With the new amount of fines, and if the rate of non-compliance is maintained, the Madrid Mobility area could collect 15.6 million euros from offenders in less than two months. A considerable figure, to which should be added the breaches in the other two areas. The volume is so large because the vast majority of these sanctions are automatic: a camera system compares the number plates that are accessed with the list of authorized vehicles and issues the list of warnings.
The creation of low emission zones is mandatory this 2022 for all Spanish municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Like those that already work in Madrid, they must establish limits on the vehicles that pollute the most, which are usually accompanied by a calendar to gradually restrict access. At the time of deploying them, municipalities can request aid from European Next Generation funds. Madrid will receive more than six million euros from the EU for the development of its protected areas, according to the list made public by the Ministry of Transport and Mobility a month ago.
The following video explains the operation of the three restricted access zones for the most polluting vehicles in Madrid:
The change in the amount of the fines is just one of the measures on which the General Directorate of Traffic is reporting, which will bring some adjustments to the day-to-day life of many drivers and also to other forms of mobility.
The new Traffic Law ends the margin of 20 kilometers per hour when overtaking, includes a zero alcohol rate for minors and establishes the obligation for those under 16 to wear a helmet when riding bikes or scooters. It also establishes a reform of the card by points, with more penalties for holding the mobile while driving or overtaking cyclists without keeping the regulatory 1.5 meters. In addition, radar jammers are prohibited.