Study shows half of traffic fines appealed in court are cancelled

Study shows half of traffic fines appealed in court are cancelled

SPEED CAMERAS: There is a margin of error

A study shows that there are an increasing number of cases in which the courts rule in favour of the driver when appealing a fine from the Spanish Traffic Department (DGT).

IN three years the number has risen by 14 per cent now accounting for around 50 per cent of fines being cancelled in Spain when appealed.

This happens especially when the fine was for speeding, as the study reports that the margin of error for speed radars is not being applied correctly. In a recent sentence, the DGT was sentenced to pay legal costs of €400 when the fine was appealed and the driver won the case.

In the past 20 years, the DGT has issued 70 million fines and made €6.5 billion from them.

Fines rose by 122 per cent between 2001 and 2019, to 4.68 million despite the number of vehicles on the roads only rising by 42 per cent, according to a study by Associated European Motorists (AEA) published in national Spanish daily ABC.

Meanwhile, the appeals against the fines fell, especially since 2009 when the options for appealing were reduced and it became more frequent for fines to be reduced by between 30 and 50 per cent if paid promptly and not appealed.

The DGT explained that the margin of error can be calculated by a ‘rule of seven’, that is, up to 100km/h, the margin of error is calculated by adding seven km/h; above 100 km/h, add seven per cent of the speed limit. That means, for example, that if the speed limit is 110 km/h a fine would be issued at more than 117.7 km/h.

The seven is explained by the fact that the maximum error permitted on speed cameras and radars when they are checked is between 3 and 7 per cent.

Meanwhile, for set speed traps the margin of error follows the same rule, but instead of seven, with five, and regarding speed control from helicopters, the margin is 10 per cent.

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.