Spanish police flying drones against driving offenses on summer-jammed roads

police drones driving offenses

Indicative of its status as one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations, Spain is currently dealing with a surge from the 91.2 million cars expected across the nation’s roads this summer. As part of their effort to ensure that travel glut circulates well (or as smoothly as inevitable traffic snarls allow), Spanish police are flying drones to keep watch for breakdowns, accidents, and ­– not least of all ­– driving offenses.

Mucho tech deployed to keep Spanish roadways safe

The nation’s Direccion General de Trafico (DGT) announced it has increased last year’s fleet of 11 drones to 39 in an effort to give Spanish police additional eyes in the skies watching for driving offenses. Each craft has a maximal flight capacity of 40 minutes, and can rapidly be deployed between targeted areas at top speeds of 80 kmh. The uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) are outfitted with powerful cameras and various sensors that allow them to identify and document traffic violations from as far as two kilometers away. 

Those whining birdies are one reason why travelers to Spain this summer had better rethink ideas about losing the clinging seatbelt, or figuring it’s safe to bash out a couple illegal text messages while driving.

The expanded drone fleet is just a part of the DGT’s formidable system of keeping watch of the countless cars using its roads each year. That policing network also includes 780 speed radars, 12 helicopters, 15 unmarked vans, and 216 fixed-position cameras taking excellent photos of drivers taking excellent photos behind the wheel in violation of the law.

Drones: Spanish police tools in busting driving offenses

Of course, the overall DGT effort also seeks to ensure smoother flows of traffic, identify and assist conked-out cars, and dispatch responders to accident sites. But positioning of the drones in high-density areas makes it evident their main mission is to nail driving offenses – something Spanish police themselves, um, cop to.

“The drones are intended to detect reckless behavior on the road,” the DGT’s Twitter account says, neither wasting nor mincing words.

On the off chance any DroneDJ readers are heading to Spain on hols, it’s worth noting the citation-issuing drones will be overhead in Aragon, Valencia, Galicia, Extremadura, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, and Asturias. Madrid and the provinces around it will be overflown by 15 of the UAV. 

And the “citation-issuing” description above is no typo. The Spanish police drones are capable of getting tickets for driving offenses en route to offending motorists even as they hover overhead. According to a DGT spokesperson quoted at the presentation of the drone campaign:

“Offences may be communicated immediately to a Guardia Civil officer, or later by post, accompanied by a frame showing the violation.” 

According to that official, the most common infractions cited are use of a mobile phone while driving, and violations of seatbelt requirements – rebellious urges that will both cost errant motorists €200 in fines.

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