Article 139 Responsibility

by Mark Nolan

1. It is the responsibility of the road user to maintain the best possible safety conditions for driving and to use and conserve the suitable signals and road markings. It is also their responsibility to get prior authorisation for installing other traffic signs. In case of emergency, authoritative agents may install circumstantial signals without previous authorisation (article 57.1 of the articulated text).


The National Roads in Spain are the state-owned roads, managed by the Ministry of Public Works and which, together with the State Highways and Motorways, form the so-called State Roads Network.


The Road Network of the Autonomous Communities, are part of the Road Network of Spain and are all the roads running fully within the Comunidad Autonoma area, and which are not owned by the Government.


Toll Motorways


The toll roads, although they are owned by the Ministry of Development and are part of the State Roads Network, are operated under concession by private or a mixture of companies.


The origin of the roads, at “0” kilometre, is the Puerta del Sol in Madrid.


2. The authority in charge of traffic regulation will be responsible for the circumstantial signalling due to the contingencies of the traffic and the variable signalling necessary for its control, in accordance with the highway legislation (article 57.2 of the articulated text). In this regard, it is the responsibility of the autonomous body Central Traffic Headquarters or, where appropriate, the regional or local authority responsible for traffic regulation determination of classes or sections of roads that must have circumstantial or variable signalling or other means of surveillance, regulation, control and telematic traffic management; that of the characteristics of the physical and technological elements that have the purpose of assisting the traffic authority; the installation and maintenance of the signage and physical or technological elements, as well as the determination at all times of the uses and messages of the variable message panels, without doubting of the competencies that, in each case, may correspond to the drivers.


3. The responsibility for signalling road works carried out on the roads subject to the legislation on traffic, motor vehicle traffic and road safety shall correspond to the bodies that carry them out or to the contracted companies. The road users are obliged to follow the instructions of the personnel assigned to the regulation of the passage of vehicles in said works, according to the requirements of article 60.5.


When the works are carried out by successful bidders or entities other than the owner, these, prior to its start, will be communicated to the autonomous Central Traffic Authority or, where appropriate, to the regional or local authority responsible for traffic, which will dictate the instructions that are appropriate in relation to the regulation, management and control of traffic.


4. The execution of construction work without prior authorisation of the owner of the road will be governed by the provisions of the highway legislation or, where applicable, the municipal regulations (article 10.1 of the articulated text).


The realisation and signage of works that violate the instructions issued will be considered a serious infraction, in accordance with the provisions of the article 65.4.f) of the articulated text of the Law on traffic, circulation of motor vehicles and road safety. Please note that the reference to article 65.4.f) must be understood as made to article 65.4.d), as established in the final provision third of this Regulation, introduced by section ten of the single article of the RD 965/2006, of September 1, by which the General Regulation of Circulation is modified, approved by R.D. 1428/2003, of November 21 (“B.O.E.” September 5).

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