Healthplan Spain


V16 emergency beacon light being placed on top of car Warning Triangles In Spain To Be Replaced By V16 Emergency Beacons By 2026 Expat Tips

Spain's DGT Traffic Authority has set out plans to introduce tougher sanctions for drivers, which are expected to come into effect by the end of 2021.

One of the main changes will be the replacement of the emergency triangles, which are being replaced by V16 emergency lights, also referred to as ‘beacons’.

The new beacons will be authorised from July 1, 2021, and will gradually phase out the traditional emergency triangle between then and January 1, 2026. The reason for the change is that, according to data from the DGT (not including the Basque Country and Catalonia), 28 people were killed on Spain’s roads after leaving their vehicles, between the years 2019 and 2020.

Furthermore, in January 2021, a further 4 people also lost their lives under the same circumstances.

Below we answer a few of the important questions most commonly asked about the V16 emergency beacons.

How do the emergency beacons work?

The emergency beacon has a yellow/orange, 60-degree, flashing light that will have a parabolic reflector allowing visibility from approximately one kilometre away. It also has geolocation features built-in and Bluetooth technology, which will allow users to connect them to a mobile so they will be able to send a request for roadside assistance when it is activated.

The light, with its magnetic base, should be placed at the highest point on the roof of your vehicle. This should be done by lowering your window and reaching out to place the light on the roof. Do not leave your car to do this. The beacon also provides a more secure method to indicate that the vehicle is in trouble on the road.

Only purchase an emergency light that is approved by the DGT. This is because it should

  • Be water-resistant
  • Should provide visibility for more than one kilometre
  • Have a special battery requirement
  • Have intensity of between 40 and 80 candelas
  • Have a viewing angle of 360 degrees
  • Have protection level IP54

The V16 beacons are currently, at the time of writing, available to buy online and in reputable stores for approximately 35-40 euros.

When will it be mandatory to use the beacon?

The use of the beacons will come into effect on July 1, 2021, you will however still be able to use the traditional warning triangle or light without geolocation until January 1, 2026. From that date on, the only form of warning device you are allowed to use is the V16 Beacon that has built-in geolocation.

How do you find me?

The V16 emergency lights incorporate a geolocation system that, when activated, sends a signal out to the DGT 3.0 cloud every 100 seconds, notifying them of your vehicle's location.

Operators can then make adjustments to electronic motorway signs to indicate to other drivers that a vehicle has broken down and may be in a vulnerable position.

Why has it changed?

The V16 signal (its official name according to the General Vehicle Regulations) modifications are included in the Royal decree that controls emergency services on public roads. General Deputy Director of Mobility Management, Jorge Ordas, explained that the emergency triangles are being removed due to the elevated number of fatal accidents that have transpired from drivers leaving their vehicles to place or collect the triangles after suffering from an incident on the roads.

What if I need to get out of my vehicle?

According to the new regulations “as a general rule” you should only leave your vehicle if there is a safe place off of the road for you to go to. This should also be on the opposite side of the flow of the traffic.

If you can not safely leave your vehicle, you should remain in your seat with the seat belt fastened securely, until assistance arrives.

You can find out more about the V16 emergency beacons via the official DGT page.

Image Credit: Revista DGT