Spaniards bemoan 'joke' speed limit cut
'They're winding us up'
Spanish drivers are less than impressed with a "temporary" reduction of the maximum speed limit on motorways from 120 to 110 km/h, which came into force today as a measure to reduce petrol imports by five per cent a year.
Speaking to RTVE, a disgruntled motorist summarised: "It's a joke, they're winding us up."
An octogenarian speed merchant described the limit as "a load of rubbish", while one Juan Carlos asked: "What difference is there between driving at 120 or 110? This new law is a cock-up. I don't think this will make any difference, and I'm going to drive at the same speed as before."
Motorway operatives had this morning already stuck 6,100 "110" stickers over 120km/h signs along Spain's major arteries, and these will be up until 30 June, although the government has said the reduced limit could be extended "according to the situation in the energy market".
Those wishing to express their disgust at the government via the accelerator pedal face fines ranging from €100 for hitting between 111 and 140 km/h, to €600 for exceeding 180 km/h.
Anything over 150 km/h will also cost drivers points on their licence, ranging from two for clocking 151 to 170 km/h, to six for 181 to 191 km/h. Anyone clocked at 192 km/h and above will earn themselves a day in court.
Despite widespread anger at the government's bold austerity measure, RTVE did manage to find a few supporters. One responsible citizen offered: "Personally, I think it's a good idea and they should reduce it further to save petrol and to make the roads safer."
This argument is unlikely to cut much ice with F1 driver Fernando Alonso, who was quick to criticise the new limit and warned it was so low that drivers could nod off from boredom, with fatal consequences. ®
The UK 70mph motorway limit was originally imposed as a means to save fuel during some fuel crisis or another. So we've all been there. The question is, will the Spaniards limit ever be raised again? Don't hold your breath guys.
"Besides, everyone here behaves like the normal limit is 80 anyway,"
In effect it is, as far as your car's speedometer is concerned.
Firstly guidelines state that you can't be nicked until you are doing 10% + 1mph over the speed limit. Secondly most car speedos overread by a few percent anyway, this is because the law allows them to overread by up to 10% (I think that's the right figure) but does not allow them to underread at all. So they are built to overread by a few percent to cover the manufacturer's arse. Ever noticed how your sat nave shows a lower speed than your speedo?
The end result of all this is that if you are driving at an indicated 80mph you are likely to be doing less than 78mph and are unlikely to be nicked where the speed limit is 70mph. Also, to the general horror of Daily Express readers, the police have got better things to do with their time than pull over motorists who are doing a couple of mph over the limit.
Sadly, it works ...
Many years ago, I used to whizz around 80-90mph from London to Bath, and fill up at the other end. I had a 1L car, and it used to cost me just over a tenner. Then one Easter, it was just sheer weight of traffic - I couldn't get above 50 ... all the way.
When I filled up, it was just over £7 ... a damn near 30% increase in fuel efficiency, just by going 50 instead of 90.
Never forgotten that lesson ... which is why I get c. 44mpg from my 2.2L diesel, while in-laws are lucky to get 25 from their 2.0L diesel ....