The DGT's unmarked vans are not as obvious as the normal patrols. / sur

Some traffic police in Spain drive unmarked vans: this is how to spot them

They normally go by unnoticed but they patrol roads all over the country and the officers inside are swift to act when they see someone breaking the law

SUSANA ZAMORA Madrid

If you drive on Spanish roads you may well have passed some of the DGT’s unmarked vans but the chances are you didn’t notice them because that’s the intention. Why? Because they want to remain anonymous to catch people who commit traffic offences more easily, especially since the new Traffic and Road Safety Law came into force last month.

In addition to the Traffic Directorate-General’s usual equipment, which includes helicopters, drones, roadside surveillance and radar devices, there are 15 unmarked vans whose occupants focus on distractions while driving. For example, if they see you holding a mobile phone, even if you are not using it, you can expect a fine of 200 euros and the loss of six points from your driving licence.

These vans are mostly white Ford Transit Custom models (some are black or blue) and because they are high, the officers have a better view of drivers who are holding an electronic device, or children who are not in a safety seat, or occupants of the vehicle who are not wearing a seatbelt.

None of these vehicles has a DGT registration plate, because the idea is that they are not easily identified. However, there is one small detail, apart from the fact that the officers inside are in uniform. On the registration plate, which like all the State administration vehicles has black letters on a white background, are the initials PGC, standing for Parque Guardia Civil, and then a block of four numbers and a letter which identifies Guardia Civil vehicles.

If you’re obeying the law, there is nothing to worry about. If you’re failing to comply with the rules and you are spotted, prepare for a fine and possible loss of points from your licence.