Sixteen-year-olds will be licenced to drive certain personal mobility vehicles. / sur

Spain's road safety strategy will include a new type of driving licence for 16-year-olds

Personal mobility vehicles such as electric scooters will also be regulated and users will have to take out third party insurance for them

PATXI FERNÁNDEZ Madrid

The Spanish authorities have drawn up a new road safety strategy which aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents by 50% before 2030. The Minister for the Interior, Fernande Grande Marlaska, and the head of the Directorate-General for Traffic, Pere Navarro, revealed details of the scheme at a press conference.

The figures for 2019 show that during that year 1,755 people died, 8,613 were seriously injured and 130,000 suffered slight injuries on the roads. This is an average of 37 deaths per million inhabitants, which is lower than the EU average of 51.

The plan will include road safety education and a new type of licence for under-16s who drive personal mobility vehicles.

Numerous changes

The new B1 licence will apply to people aged 16 and over driving electric vehicles with a maximum speed of 90 km/h and a maximum weight of 400 kilos.

This type of licence is already used in some other countries including France, Portugal, Italy and the UK and it is said to be working well. There, it enables 16-year-olds to drive heavy quadricycles: small vehicles with a maximum power of 20.4 hp (15 kW) and a maximum speed of 90 km/h. These are called L7 quadricycles.

Scooters regulated

Under the new strategy, personal mobility vehicles such as electric scooters will also be regulated and users will have to take out third party insurance for them.

The medical check-ups to ensure that people are fit to drive are also to be modified as the present tests have been the same for 15 years.

These are just a few of the changes planned to reduce fatalities and injuries in traffic accidents. Marlaska said the United Nations has described road safety as “one of the biggest public health problems which need to be tackled via Sustainable Development Objectives”. He also explained that the EU has just approved the strategy to ban the sale of vehicles with combustion engines in 2035, and said this will “without a doubt result in significant changes in the forms of mobility”.

Blaming drivers

“For years we have been blaming drivers for traffic accidents, because they drink or they drive too fast. In our strategy for 2030 we want to make sure that if there is an accident, the consequences will not be as serious, and the application of new technologies is a very important part of that,” Marlaska also said.