Driving Laws and Regulations in Spain
There are general speed limits for each of the different types of roads in Spain:
120 km/h on motorways
100 km/h on dual carriageways
90 km/h on single carriageway roads
50 km/h in towns.
Regardless of the official speed limit, however, the prevailing rule is that drivers must adapt their speeds to adverse road and weather conditions – in other words going more slowly, if necessary.
Items and documentation required by law to be in the vehicle
The driver must have their driving licence.
Spanish registered vehicles need proof (receipt) that their local road tax has been paid.
Hazard Warning Triangles: Hazard Warning triangles are compulsory. Only one is required for non-Spanish registered vehicles but two are required for Spanish vehicles.
Reflective jackets / high visibility vests must be worn by anyone who gets out of the vehicle in the case of a breakdown or accident. Strangely hire cars usually only supply one triangle? and no reflective jackets?, check your responsibility and supply them yourself if necessary is the safest way.
Reflective jackets / high visibility vests are now compulsory in Spain. They are also compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway and Portugal and (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out.
A set of replacement vehicle bulbs and spare relevant fuses.
If you wear glasses, a spare pair.
Since 1994 it is compulsory for all persons in the vehicle to wear seat belts at all times and that includes passenger in rear seats. Children under 12 or less than 150cm (5ft) must travel in the back unless the front seat has an approved child seat. It is the driver who is responsible for making sure all passengers wear the seat belts. Dogs must also be restrained with suitable harnesses.
Drink Drive Limits
Blood alcohol levels must register less than 1.2mg/0.6ml of alcohol be in the blood. (This limit is lower than in many other countries and can be reached after consuming as little as one small glass of wine or beer).
Drivers are required to aid accident victims if they are the first on the scene.
You must have a hands free device to use a mobile phone while driving. Talking on cell phones when driving is prohibited by Spanish law. This includes talking in your car when pulled over to the side of the road. You must be completely away from the road. You can talk with a completely hands free unit. Using an earpiece is also prohibited.
Helmets / cascos are required for driving mopeds and motorcycles.
Speed radar detectors are prohibited.
In addition to losing points from the point-based driving license, traffic law violators in Spain also receive fines.
As of the 7th December 2007 any offence involving driving over the speed limit, under the effect of alcohol or drugs can also take you to jail.
Inspección Técnica de Vehículos – ITV in Spain
The ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos) is the roadworthiness test of a motor vehicle in Spain. It is the equivalent of an MOT in the UK.
ITV tests are compulsory and may only be undertaken by an authorised garage. The aim of the test is to reduce the risk of accidents, to contribute to greater road safety and better quality of the environment. It is illegal to drive a car which does not have a current ITV certificate.
The vehicle you are in must carry the following:
The vehicles original registration document.
Proof that the vehicle is currently insured and if you are not the owner proof that you are entitled to drive the vehicle.
The vehicles ITV / MOT (depending on the age of the vehicle)
Driving Licenses and Penalty Points on your Driving Licenses in Spain
Driving without a license will be penalised with up to 6 months jail sentence and a 288.000 euros fine.
Driving licenses in Spain have a credit of 12 points from 1st July 2006, except in the case of drivers who have been driving for 3 years or less; those only have 8 points.
The points will be deducted from licenses of drivers caught committing driving offences – some of them were not considered as such before this new law. Depending on how serious the offence is, drivers will have from 2 to 6 points deducted from their license.
You lose 2 points:
Stopping in bus lanes , pedestrian crossings or creating danger for passing traffic
Using devices to locate radar speed camera detectors (not GPS)
Driving without lights when required
Riding a motorbike with a passenger under 12 years old
Exceeding speed limits between 20 and 30 km/h
You lose 3 points:
Not following traffic signs or road markings instructions
Using any devices that could distract your attention from driving: mobile phones, earphones, etc.
Not keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front
Driving without a seatbelt or without a helmet in the case of motorbikes
Exceeding speed limits between 30 and 40 k/ph
You lose 4 points:
Driving on motorways or highways where there is restricted access for your type of vehicle.
Exceeding by 50% the maximum passenger capacity of the vehicle
Not driving with the required license for the type of vehicle you are driving
Throwing objects on the road that could cause fire or accidents
Putting other drivers at risk
Exceeding speed limits by over 40 k/ph
Ignoring traffic lights when in red or a stop sign
Breaking overtaking rules, being a hazard to oncoming vehicles or overtaking in low visibility areas
Endangering cyclists’ lives by blocking or passing too close to them
Illegally parking or waiting on a motorway or highway
Ignoring the instructions of traffic police officers
Hindering overtaking vehicles by accelerating or with other manoeuvres
You lose 6 points
Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances
Reckless driving in the wrong lane or taking part in illegal races
Refusing to take a breathalysing test, a drugs test or a test for other substances
Driving 50% more than the speed limit
Despite the maximum points an offender can lose in one day is 8 points, this system gives traffic authorities the power to immediately withdraw the licence if the offence is considered to be extremely serious, i.e. driving under the effects of alcohol or drugs, refusing to do a breathalyser test or driving at over 50 percent the speed limit.
Fines will be also imposed according to how serious the offence is: a fine for a serious offence ranges from 91 euros to 300 and a very serious from 301 to 600 euros.
Recovering Lost Driving license points
When a driver loses points from Spain’s point based drivers’ license, they can officially be recuperated in two ways:
Two points are given back to drivers if they manage not to lose any points for two years.
Attending special refresher theory and road safety courses is a requirement for those who loose all their points. They also have their license taken away for 6 months, if it is the first time, or 12 months if is the second, and when their licence is returned, they only have 8 points.