By Chris King • 18 December 2021 • 3:24
According to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), current traffic regulations do not explicitly prohibit smoking in the car in Spain. But, they do point out that should you get stopped by traffic cops who consider that this action is generating a distraction that puts road safety at risk, then the driver might be penalised.
The Ministry of Health is known to have drawn up a draft in which it proposes, “before the year 2023”, to increase taxes on cigarettes and their derivatives. It also plans to increase the number of smoke-free places, so that it is not possible to smoke in cars, or fix generic packaging on cigarette packets.
Sources from the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), consulted by Europa Press, assure that they do not know the text and must wait to be able to evaluate the proposal.
Data from the department of Pere Navarro, collected by Europa Press, indicate that lighting a cigarette requires 4.1 seconds. This implies that, while traveling at 100kph, 113 metres are covered without paying full attention to the road. The DGT states that 60 per cent of accidents, and 30 per cent of fatalities are caused by distractions, and smoking is a frequent cause of distraction.
The Traffic Regulations indicate that “the driver of a vehicle is obliged to maintain their own freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision, and permanent attention when driving, to guarantee their own safety, that of the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and the of the other users of the road”. However, smoking is not prohibited.
In May 2018, coinciding with World No Tobacco Day, the DGT pointed out, “Smoking while driving is not prohibited, but we recommend not doing it, because it can be distracting. And if children travel, less, for health reasons”.
On the other hand, it is expressly forbidden to throw objects from the car. According to data from the Ministry of the Environment, three per cent of fires originate from abandoned cigarette butts thrown from vehicles.
The latest reform of the Traffic Law toughens the punishment for throwing objects onto the road that could cause fires or accidents. It is now a very serious offence that involves the loss of six points from the driving licence, and a fine of €500, as reported by lasprovincias.es.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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