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Government U-turn for L-drivers

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AGREEING that forcing newly-qualified drivers to observe a mandatory 80 kph limit was counter-productive on motorways, the government will now allow them to drive at 110 kph on some roads.

The learner-drivers’ speed limit was introduced in 1974 when roads were worse and cars less safe, acknowledged a government directive last week.

There were few motorways or dual-carriageways at that time, and secondary roads were often in bad condition.

Today, Spain’s 12,000 kilometres of main roads, dual carriageways and motorways were built to the latest specifications regarding the materials and techniques used to plan routes, rendering the 80 kph limit outdated.

“It would be contradictory on motorways and dual carriageways – where driving at less than 60 kph is not permitted in order to maintain an unhindered traffic flow – to oblige some motorists to drive at an only slightly higher speed,” said the directive.

Vehicles were also safer than they were in the 70s and road safety instructors were now trained to a far higher level than in the past, the government said.

A closer watch was also kept on newly-qualified drivers, who are assigned a lower drink-driving threshold and have eight points on their driving licences instead of 12.

One thing will remain unchanged, however, and new drivers must still display “L” plates during their first year on the road.

“They lack driving experience which can be reflected in some of their manoeuvres,” commented the directive, adding that their “L” plates prompted other drivers to be “more understanding.”

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