Really, how you can get rid of the penalty if you disobey a sign written only in Catalan?

Attention, shifting sands. The last modification of the Traffic Law changes a word in its article 138, which could give to the fret with a picaresque extended for years: to allege ignorance of the language before a penalty imposed for disobeying a sign written in a language other than Spanish. This situation, it was only in the Autonomous Communities with co-official languages, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands. The amendment of the law aims to end with the picaresque.

do I have to obey to a signal written in a different language to English?

With this amendment is intended to delete the discussion lingã ¼ istico of the movement of motor vehicles.

The answer is in the affirmative, any driver in possession of a driving licence in Spain, must know and respect the signage existing on the roads and in cities. A stop sign or a signal that limits the speed to 90 km/h is identical in Cadiz, Madrid and Girona. And in all places we must obey in the same way. The situation that until now has been occurring is that in some regions, the text that accompanies the signal is only written in the language co-official of the Autonomous Community.


Especially in the signs of parking, which usually include a litany of exceptions and assumptions that we may or may not make use of the public space to park our car. I don’t want to be “holier than thou”, but any person with a minimum of culture should be understood in practice, all signals of the national territory, whether they are galician or Catalan. That is not the case with the signs in euskera, but what is certain is that in the Basque Country almost all signs are also in Spanish.

We wonder if there are many signals that are potentially intelligible to be written in another language. The reality is that they are very few.

Different media, we conminan to a study developed by the platform of Civic life Catalan. This study indicates that only 5.2% of the signs with text located in Catalonia are written in Spanish. This platform I think some time ago a model of argument standard, citing the unconstitutionality of this situation. A model of argument that allows you to appeal fines imposed on communities with co-official languages, and to date, I could have avoided the imposition of thousands of penalties.


for all purposes, , takes advantage of a loophole that claims ignorance of the language on the part of the individual multador – only works if you live in another region – and the breach of article 56 of the Traffic Law and article 138 of the General Regulation of Circulation.

article 56 of the Traffic Law explicitly the following:

The written directions of the signals are expressed at least in the English language, official State.

article 138 the Regulation of Movement clarifies the following (extract):

The written directions that include or accompany the signs of public roads, and inscriptions will be in Spanish and, in addition, in the official language of the Autonomous Community recognized in the respective Statute of Autonomy, when the signal is not located in the territorial scope of that Community.

What changes in the rule?

The last amendment of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Vehicles to Engine and Security Vial – articulated by the General Regulations of Circulation changes only one word in the article 56 of the norm. No more, no less. The only thing that changes is the expression “Spanish language” “Spanish language”. It may seem silly, but the legislators get this way a parity with the article 3 of the Constitution, which stipulates the official status of castilian as “language official of the State”.


And what happens now?

On paper, all the Autonomous Communities and town Councils should modify their signage to be bilingual in all cases. Failure to do so would result in an illegal situation. The powers of traffic are transferred to some communities, and the current political landscape play a role unfortunately too relevant. Be that as it may, we do not recommend disobeying signs whose meaning you know, with a few subtitles that you can perfectly understand, for after you face an allegation cumbersome.

Not worth the trouble.

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