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New regulations for roadside assistance services and measures that affect drivers

The new Roadside Assistance Regulation came into force on 1 July. Its aim: to improve the safety of both workers and other road users during roadside assistance work for drivers. Do you want to know what the changes consist of? We tell you.

This new Regulation, which came into force through Royal Decree 159/2021 on 16 March, aims to guarantee the safety of both crane workers and the occupants of the vehicles to be rescued. Thus, it is fulfilled an old claim of the sector.

The Regulation tells in detail the correct way to act both drivers in need of roadside assistance and rescue professionals – cranes, firefighters, ambulances when a situation of risk is createdThe Regulation incorporates rules about slowing down, leaving a minimum distance while overtaking a stationary vehicle, or even stopping when there is a rescue vehicle working on the road.

With the new Regulation it will be mandatory for roadside assistance technicians to be in possession of training that proves that they have the necessary knowledge to carry out their work.  Until now, workers did not need to have any compulsory training.

To improve communication and safety, the Royal Decree also makes it mandatory to report the immobilization of the vehicle, either to the assistance operator or to a third party who forwards it to the competent authority for traffic regulation and management. This authority will publish it in the national access point for traffic and mobility (established in accordance with Directive 2010/40/EU).

In addition to the main changes mentioned above, there are other. These are summarized below:

  • A new emergency light (V-16) is created to indicate that a vehicle is immobilized on the road. This light is visible from a greater distance than the current emergency triangles. It is available for voluntary use since 1 July, but it will be mandatory from 1 January 2026, replacing the triangles.
  • All emergency vehicles must carry the V-2, V-23 and V-24 signs:

o The V-2 sign is one of the luminous type, accompanied by reflective plates with red and white stripes.

o The V-23 sign marks the outline of the vehicle with reflective material.

o Sign V-24 will contain more information, as well an acoustic signal may be added.

  • A new signal is created: V-27, which will warn of a danger from a vehicle´s computer system. So that the danger is communicated to the DGT platform, and the vehicle is telematically connected to the national access point for traffic and mobility.
  • State Register of Public Roads Assistance is created to protect roadside assistance operators from intrusion.
  • A new rescue action protocol is established. In the future, the location of the stopped vehicle will be sent telematically to the DGT 3.0 platform. The protocol of actions will start as soon as the call for help is received or the geolocation system is activated. The main idea is that in the next few years, everyone involved in an emergency situation will be able to know in real time the presence of an immobilized vehicle on the road.
  • By 2026, the DGT expects that thanks to the DGT 3.0 platform, drivers will have real-time traffic information, with the geopositioning of both the vehicle in trouble and the emergency services on their way to the place.

In conclusion, it is possible that, in the very near future, we will witness the driver of a broken-down vehicle putting the V-16 sign on the roof without having to get out of the car. When the tow truck arrives, we will know it thanks to acoustic signal and yellow lights (remember that ambulances, fire brigades and police all use blue lights). In addition, if our vehicle has a V-27 signal, a light inside will alert us to the presence of a stopped vehicle nearby. All of this is aimed to increase the safety of all road users, thus reducing the number of deaths and injuries on the roads.

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