The European Automobile Association and Devuelta were especially critical of a change in the law, ThinkSpain reported Friday. As originally proposed, fines for drunk driving were to double to 1,000 euros (almost $1,400), but now the higher fine will only be imposed if a driver's blood alcohol tests at twice the legal limit.
The groups said the law sends a dangerous message: "Carry on consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel, so we can fine you because we need the money."
The law also bans detectors for traffic-safety cameras. The groups say the cameras actually encourage drivers to slow down because they know they are being watched.
At the same time, the law strips drivers of any legal protection from tickets, the groups said, because it allows traffic police to issue citations without any notice. Drivers may only realize they have been ticketed when a notice arrives in the mail and will be unable to argue they were not breaking the law.
Spain's economic crisis has cut the amount of money generated by traffic fines because drivers have cut the time they spend behind the wheel.
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