If you and your caravan are planning a trip to Spain this summer, make sure you familiarise yourself with the country’s new driving laws before you travel. Falling foul of the recently-introduced regulations could see drivers landed with hefty fines and a serious dampener on their holiday spirits. That’s before we even mention the possibility of penalty points on your licence when you get home… Nobody wants that to happen during their much-needed summer holiday (and we don’t want it to happen to you!), so here’s a quick guide to help keep you on the right side of the Spanish law.
One of the major changes to the Spanish motoring legislation has been prompted by an amendment to EU law. Driving offences committed in any European country will now be reported to the driver’s country of residence, where their licence will be updated with details of any endorsements. The vehicle’s registration plate will be used to identify country of origin.
Another point worth remembering is that the ten per cent plus two tolerance of limit-exceeding speeds in the UK will not be applied in Spain. In other words, while you may be let away with driving 35mph in a 30mph zone here at home, you will be fined and handed penalty points for doing 31kph in a 30kph zone in Spain. Be very, very careful of your speed.
Spanish Driving Laws
While driving in Spain, you must obey the following laws to avoid huge fines and potential penalty points.
- The installation of any kind of speed camera detector or inhibitor in a vehicle could lead to a fine of up to €6,000 or almost £5,000
- Not notifying the police of the identity of the driver in a vehicle involved in an accident or serious offence carries a fine of €1,600, which converts to around £1,500
- Any driver caught in charge of a vehicle while double the drink driving limit (0.05% or 0.02% in the first two years of driving) will face a minimum fine of €1,000 (£800). Re-offending drunk drivers will automatically face this fine, regardless of the amount of alcohol found in their system, as will any driver found to be under the influence of drugs
- Driving just 1kph above the speed limit can carry a fine of €500, which currently equates to around £400
- Serious speeding offenders will be left out of pocket to the tune of €600
- Even if you have driven in Spain countless times in the past, pay attention to the speed limits on each road. While the maximum legal driving speed on motorways has been increased from 120kph to 130kph, the speed limit on some roads has actually been lowered to 20kph.
- Bear in mind that you do not need to be stopped by the police in Spain to be convicted of a motoring offence. If Spanish police witness an offence and take down the details of the vehicle involved, this is considered to be sufficient evidence to prove the driver’s guilt. The vehicle’s registration number is all that is required.
While they are not affected by the recent changes, all drivers in Spain must also abide by the following regulations:
- Minimum driving age for a UK driver in Spain is 18
- Seatbelts are compulsory in the front seats and back seat seatbelts must be worn if fitted
- The following equipment must be carried in all vehicles:
- Spare tyre and the equipment required to change it
- At least one warning triangle is compulsory and two is strongly recommended
- Reflective jackets are compulsory for all drivers and passengers who exit their vehicle by a motorway or main road. Ensure that enough jackets are kept in the vehicle to cover all passengers in the case of an accident or breakdown.
- DVD players and similar equipment must be positioned out of view of the driver
- If the driver requires glasses, a spare pair should be kept in the vehicle
- Sounding the horn is prohibited at all times in urban areas. The only exception to this is sounding the horn in an emergency
Have you fallen foul of the new laws yet? If so, why not tell us about your experience below.
If you are taking your car, caravan or motorhome abroad with you, make sure that you have adequate breakdown cover that fully protects you and your vehicle. Our European cover starts at £68.00 per year. Call us on 01480 402460 for more information.