Spanish drivers are less than impressed with a "temporary" reduction of the maximum speed limit on motorways from 120 to 110 km/h, which came into force today as a measure to reduce petrol imports by five per cent a year.
Speaking to RTVE, a disgruntled motorist summarised: "It's a joke, they're winding us up."
An octogenarian speed merchant described the limit as "a load of rubbish", while one Juan Carlos asked: "What difference is there between driving at 120 or 110? This new law is a cock-up. I don't think this will make any difference, and I'm going to drive at the same speed as before."
Motorway operatives had this morning already stuck 6,100 "110" stickers over 120km/h signs along Spain's major arteries, and these will be up until 30 June, although the government has said the reduced limit could be extended "according to the situation in the energy market".
Those wishing to express their disgust at the government via the accelerator pedal face fines ranging from €100 for hitting between 111 and 140 km/h, to €600 for exceeding 180 km/h.
Anything over 150 km/h will also cost drivers points on their licence, ranging from two for clocking 151 to 170 km/h, to six for 181 to 191 km/h. Anyone clocked at 192 km/h and above will earn themselves a day in court.
Despite widespread anger at the government's bold austerity measure, RTVE did manage to find a few supporters. One responsible citizen offered: "Personally, I think it's a good idea and they should reduce it further to save petrol and to make the roads safer."
This argument is unlikely to cut much ice with F1 driver Fernando Alonso, who was quick to criticise the new limit and warned it was so low that drivers could nod off from boredom, with fatal consequences. ®