Spain News: Alerting other drivers to police through social media could be banned in 2020

PROHIBITED: Alerting other drivers to police could be banned in 2020

The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) in Spain has been waiting for a small but much-needed legal modification. To this day, drivers who warn passing cars of police presence using headlights -and facilitate the escape of possible offenders- can be legally liable if denounced by officers. However, if that same person places an alert on social media or specific applications used for this purpose, they would not be committing a crime. Despite the fact that users who post warning signals on apps such as Waze or Social Drive have a greater reach.

A big number of drivers take alternative routes to avoid police and the dreaded breathalyser. The danger of alerting third-parties of any police controls facilitates drunk or drugged drivers to continue using the roads in unsafe conditions. It also prevents officers from intercepting uninsured vehicles and, outside the scope of road safety, it also is an aid for criminals of all kinds.

After several years of receiving complaints from the Guardia Civil and Local and National Police, the DGT decided to find out the possibilities on ending this practice. In April of 2019, they received a recommendation to install a ban on these activities. The biggest difficulty to include the measure in traffic regulations has been the lack of political stability. Members of the organisation have stated that the regulation could be processed once a government was in place.

The new coalition government could now mean a step towards ending the practice. Meanwhile, the DGT has expressed that although alerting another driver to police through social media is still legal, it is firmly discouraged.   

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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla.

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