"A" Frames and Spain

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by nomadic, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. nomadic

    nomadic Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Shropshire based
    I saw this on another forum, and thought it interesting......


    his might help understanding a bit, so just to repeat, once again:*

    The law in Spain is perfectly clear on this point.*

    Towing a vehicle with another vehicle is specifically forbidden by national law here.*
    It is "Ley Nacional".........that means it applies right across the country, and is not amendable by any of the semi autonomous regions.*

    There are no ifs, no buts; the law here is not muddy or unclear.*

    The law says that you CANNOT tow any vehicle with another vehicle on any Spanish road.*
    (I heard that exactly the same restriction applies in Portugal too - but I DO NOT have first hand knowledge of the law there, so this could be simply hearsay)*

    Now, that said, you have to understand a bit about the Spanish peoples (and Police) approach to obeying/enforcing laws.*
    There are lots of laws here in Spain which were/are observed more in the breach than obedience.*

    The Spanish do not tow any vehicle with another (eg in the case of breakdown) because this no-tow law has been in place for decades....and every vehicle insurance contract here always automatically includes provision for a "grua" (one of those flat-bed breakdown recovery vehicles) service if you break down anywhere in the country.*

    So far as I'm aware utterly no-one in Spain sells/fits "A-frames" at all, on the basis that there's absolutely no market for them here, as using them would be illegal.*
    What the Spanish motor homers do if they have a car with their MH, is carry the car on a "proper" trailer. That IS perfectly legal across Spain (subject to all the rules about lights, brakes, max weights etc....)*

    Now, so far as "foreigners" are concerned, Traffico (the Guardia Civil traffic Police who enforce road laws everywhere outside of towns/villages) used to be fairly relaxed about minor "technical breaches" of Spanish traffic laws.........'cos of language difficulties, paperwork reading difficulties, a lack of knowledge about legalities in other EU countries; and also because they were usually tasked with concentrating on far more serious crimes like drink-driving, no insurance (very common here, as insurance costs are very high).............so I'm guessing that in reality almost no foreign A-frame car towing motorhomer has been stopped/fined etc in years gone by; just as no foreigner has been stopped/fined for not having a red and white chevron thingy attached to their push bikes that overhang the rear of their MH.*

    BUT, and here's the kicker............things have recently changed. Really changed.*

    Spain is in deep financial poo.*
    The Government has implemented a wide range of austerity/cost-cutting measures since 2010.*
    One of them is that from 2011 onwards the Guardia Civil Traffco nationally must, instead of being largely funded by general taxation, be SELF-FUNDING.*
    The only way they can raise the massive funds to pay for their costs is by?*
    Yep. Issuing fines.*

    The fines money doesn't go straight to them, it goes into the general treasury "pot" but the Hacienda (the Spanish Inland Revenue) are now keeping account of all such fines, to offset them against the costs of the Guardia Civil.*
    Now, Mr Guardia Civil Traffico Officer knows very clearly that if he doesn't maximise his revenue generating ability, either he or his fellow officers are gonna get made redundant/lose their grace-and-favour barrack accommodation/lose their pension, etc etc.*
    Therefore he and all his fellow officers have embraced this get-a-lot-more-money-in necessity with what can only be described as overwhelming enthusiasm..........more and more day by day.*

    Often they now carry card-swipe machines - if you get nicked for speeding/crossing a solid white line/not wearing seatbelt/wearing flip-flops instead of "proper" footwear, they want the fine money off you there and then.*
    If you ain't got it, your vehicle is impounded and you get taken to a cashpoint, or home, in order to get the dosh.*
    Also the fines have gone up a lot. Expect 100 euros or more for minor traffic infringements.*

    Now, I have NOT heard of any Brit getting done/having their car impounded this year for towing a car on an A-frame. But then most of the motorhome forums I read are Spanish, and they wouldn't have heard, 'cos they don't do it.*
    All I can tell you as a fact is the Traffico are desperate to gather cash in, and that it is clearly, and well-known, as illegal to do A-frame car towing anywhere in Spain. It's of course also bloody obvious if you are breaking the Spanish law by doing it.*

    So, as in previous years, it's a gamble to do it here. But the risk of getting nicked for that, or other driving offences, has gone up a lot since Jan 2011.*

    Still probably a hundred times less likely to get nicked here for summat than back in radar-trap/camera/ANPR Big Brother blighty; but I guess it's a lot more likely now than ever it used to be.*

    In the end of course it's totally up to you to decide............*



    Well what do you think,
     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    11,070
    Likes Received:
    13,680
    Location:
    Heavan
    Quote-There are no ifs, no buts; the law here is not muddy or unclear.*


    so call me pedantic, But, if you are towing a car on a trailer, then you are towing a car and therefore the very definition of the law as you pronounce it is "you can not tow another car with a car" could be interpreted as being exactly that.

    Meaning any bent Spanish copper could demand money pointing to that law and say a car is towing a car

    Those of us that use a toad on an aframe, do so on the knowledge that what we are actually towing is a trailer. So no chance of explaining to senoir that we are towing a trailer and not a car.

    Boy, I don't know why people bother with a toad and take it across the water. I have one for the UK and quite frankly can't be arsed with all the hassell to even contemplate taking it accross the water, scooter or hire car for me.
     
  3. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,407
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    I think its as well to stay clear of these cash straped countries altogether.

    Spend your hard earned dosh somewere you are welcome and let the countries that try to steal your money stew in there own laws.

    As fewer and fewer Brits are going to Spain for there holls it wont be long before they start thinking about what they are doing.

    Have seen it all before when they started doubling the campsite fees. Less people arrive so put the price up as we still want the same income from the few that are here.:Doh:

    Its not that many years ago a wealthy Spaniard had a donkey...Now he has a BMW or Merc. He still has the donkey drivers mentality though.

    Just as easy to take your toad down to Sete and catch the ferry to Tangier. Cut out Spain altogether. It would be interesting to see how long Spain can last without tourism.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  4. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    hi, its vry plain the spanish cant use aframes but if youread the ministerio del interiors letter he quotes directives 70/156/cee and 94/20/cee . that should allow aframes from visitors from other eu countries . precidents have been set and fines returned .
    anybody fined in spain should appeal. its very straight forward . the spanish have to abide by eu law thats it.
    i think to many just turn over and hand out the cash.
     
  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,478
    Likes Received:
    16,963
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    No Paul, you are towing a trailer with a load/cargo....just because that load happens to be a car is immaterial.

    what you are implying is every truck delivering cars to a dealership is acting illegally.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    342
    What an excellent post Nomadic...

    And as if by magic, here is the evidence :Angry:

    We have just travelled from Santander to Zahora. By 'we' I mean Suzy and I along with three other couples.

    In our convoy were three RV's towing cars on a-frames and a fifth wheel unit.

    After an overnight stopover we were cruising down the motorway at 80 km/hr and a Guardia Civil Trafico office on a motorbike passed us one by one, pausing at each a-frame. He then raced off in to the distance.

    As we rounded a bend a little further on he was there, in the lane in front of us, waving us all off the road onto a slip road.

    To cut a long story short, all RV owners were fined (40 euro each). We were not told to un-hitch. He asked where our destination was and said that if we were stopped again to show them our paperwork and we would not be fined again for this journey.

    After another overnight stopover in the coach park next to a petrol station we awoke and as we were about to leave a Trafico officer in a car pulled over a car with a horsebox into the patrol station. We pulled out of the car park but were stopped by the officer as we turned out onto the main exit road from the petrol station (he'd clocked us parked up so staying put until he left seemed pointless)

    We showed the paperwork from our previous fine and he said that whilst that was all well and good, we should have been told to unhitch and that the previous officer had just been doing us a favour.

    Meanwhile, as I was blocking the road with my toad, several Spanish car drivers were now blocked and sounding their horns. The officer went and told them to be patient and then went back the the horsebox he was dealing with and waved to us to go. I guess it was a combination of the facts that he was busy with another issue and we were blocking the access to the petrol station that saved us from having to unhitch this time.

    Nearer to our destination we were passed by a Trafico car who, again, paused as he passed the a-frames, but he zoomed off and did not pull us.

    We also passed three Traffico officers who had pulled two cars over and thankfully they didn't come for us or radio ahead to other officers...

    I forgot to say that the first officer that fined us did show us some guidance paperwork that he had that showed several photo's of cars being towed on a-frames with close-ups of the a-frames themselves. His notes clearly indicated that all the pictures showed illegal methods of towing and also clearly stated that it is illegal to tow cars with other vehicles.

    The fiver rig in our convoy did not get fined.

    One of the RV'ers has a disabled wife who could not have driven their car had they been told to unhitch. We did have a plan had we been forced to unhitch (the fiver drivers wife would have driven the car) but that is not always an option.

    We expect to be fined again on the way home - I don't know what the fine will be as it will be our second offence.

    So, if you are travelling to Spain with a toad, either get a trailer or EXPECT to be pulled and fined and maybe asked to unhitch so if you are a solo driver you may be in big trouble.

    Oh, and one last thing to remember: The officer who fined us just 40 euros (could have easily been more according to Nomadic) and let us carry on still towing, parted with us by saying thank you to us for being so polite and friendly.


    Bryan
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,407
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Well Bryan, I think 40 Euros was a bargain to get a car to Spain.:Wink:

    Well done pal.:thumb:
     
  8. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    11,070
    Likes Received:
    13,680
    Location:
    Heavan
    Sorry John, Think you missed the bit of my post that said Pedantic.
    A car can not tow a car, is what the post said,
    therefore if your towing a trailer is irrelevant, your towing a car in the very statement of that fact,:Wink:
    When I tow my toad, do I tow a car or a trailer?
    I tow a trailer,
    of course, thats how we are led to see it here,
    but across the water, it is now a Car :Doh:

    Oh and having just read Bryans post, there is only one thing I don't get?

    Why bother,

    Must be other countries that want our money?
     
  9. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    342

    Just re-read the ticket and it appears that the fine was 80 euros with a 50% discount - the discount was because the fine was paid within 20 days.

    TBH I'm more than happy to pay one fine each way if it is 40 euros a time. But the unknown is what happens after a second offence?
     
  10. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,407
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    I know some Spanish campsites that charge more than 40 Euros per WEEK to park a trailer.
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,544
    Likes Received:
    5,596
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    Its the death penalty Bryan
    But as you cant speak Spanish, and therefor cant plea they will hang Suzi:thumb:
    panick over
    Geo
     
  12. MicknPat

    MicknPat Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    2,682
    Location:
    Touring UK
    Bryan, If the Spanish Police want us to pay €40 to use an A frame I'm all for it :thumb:, save me £1,000 - £1,500 buying a twin axle car transporter trailer to carry our Jeep. :Smile:


    Mick
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. billkce

    billkce Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    215
    Location:
    Cabopino in Spain till May 15
    Nice bit of lateral thinking.:thumb:
     
  14. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    342
    As I said, 40 euros fine per journey is fine by me...but my concern is that next time, because I have already been fined, that my next penalty may be a LOT higher or could they impound my car, or...?

    It's not knowing what happens next time that worries me.

    Still, as I have to tow the car back and I fully expect to be done again...I'll let you know :Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  15. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    312
    Location:
    UK
    So that`s where you got to? Never did get to Haughton did I.

    Steve G
     
  16. darklord

    darklord Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,243
    Location:
    essex
    This whole toad matter, is going to end in tears. Either by the EU enforcing laws that already stand (not the , ah...but it makes it a trailer, loose argument) but the one that states that it is illegal for anyone to interfere with the braking system on a car, and the other one that forbids a car being on the road in a condition NOT matching its type approval (brakes interfered with) and a few others that i can't remember, or by a motorhomer ending up in a foreign jail for a few years after an accident.
    Unfortunatly, the above, while seeming drastic, is the way a lot of precedent is set, and if you think its far fetched....how long wasi it the British plane spotters were in jail in Greece carrying out a hobby that is legal in most of the EU using radio.s (one way not two) that can be legally bought all over the EU?
    Sorry to be the harbinger of doom on this, but the excretia IS going to hit the extractor on this issue, and whether your particular fan is EU approved or not...aint going to stop the sh*t hitting you!
     
    • Like Like x 4
  17. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    but nobody is interfering with the brake system . and where is a law that says you cant alter a system anyway. even garages alter them frequently.
    its possible they could have a blanket ban though. or full use. if and when it happens that will be that.
    cars and vans have been made into trailers for years .mini vans .beetles, reliants ,etc still is done in the clubs to have matching trailers to the car pulling it. do we or they ban them as well.
    the answer is dont take one to spain unless you are prepared to argue all the way to eu courts. germany and holland were abit funny with them 20yr ago. seem to have eased off in recent years.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,544
    Likes Received:
    5,596
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    You are what we honest folk, call a career criminal:Doh:
     
  19. darklord

    darklord Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,243
    Location:
    essex

    You will find, that making atrailer out of som ething else, is now illegal. Since a few years back i think.
     
  20. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    342

    Except it is the DVLA who state that when an a-frame is attached to a car that the combined unit is then a trailer...:Smile:
     
Loading...

Share This Page