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Spanish Driving Laws

This is not "hot off the press” news – in fact it concerns law that came into effect some time ago.. However, since it relates to your driving license (licencia de conduccion), a reminder was thought to be a worthwhile topic.

The rules for driving licenses in Spain, concern your country of origin. Drivers from some countries are allowed to keep their own or simply exchange it for a Spanish one. Some are required to exchange it, and some cannot be exchanged. This latter group of drivers need to take a Spanish driving test, which has both theoretical and practical sections.

People with an EU License are allowed to drive using that license in Spain – providing the holder is at least 18 years of age. There is no need for a license exchange unless the holder wishes it. However, those that choose to keep their EU License should not forget that Spanish conditions apply while they are in Spain. This covers the period of validity, the need for medical examinations, tax payments and any penalties that have been incurred. If penalties have been incurred, the authorities may insist that the holder obtains a Spanish license to make the process easier.

Although there is no legal requirement for EU license holders to change their license, there is a requirement to register with the traffic authorities within 6 months of arrival in Spain. This should be done at the Central Register of Drivers at their local traffic office. This registration involves a medical examination which can be done at authorized centres. The test will be for both mental and physical fitness.

Despite it being legal to drive in Spain on an EU license, the issuing country will not allow a change of address to another country, Spanish authorities recognize that a license may not carry the actual address of the holder and are happy to take this into account.

If the driver feels that a change of license is the best option, then it’s necessary to go to the local traffic office and make an application. ID proof needs to be presented – a passport for example, along with proof of residency status, a written declaration confirming no suspension from driving, a declaration confirming the holder has no license in another country and finally 2 recent passport-sized photographs.

The Spanish driving license is plastic and the size of a credit card, and bears a list of the vehicles the holder is entitled to drive. Included too is the holder’s date of birth, name and NIE number plus the holder’s photograph. All in all, since it has to be carried when driving, it’s a useful piece of ID. For holders under 45 years of age, license renewal needs to occur every 10 years – every 5 years for those between 45 and 70 years – and every 2 years for those over 70.

People from countries outside the EU are able to drive on their original license for up to 6 months after they have obtained Spanish residency status. While driving on this original license, it is a legal requirement to carry a Spanish translation at all times.

The documentation for exchanging a license from a non-EU country is similar to that for an EU license, but also includes a certificate of psychological aptitude which has been issued following medical examination, and written confirmation that the original license is authentic.

Every driver starts off with an allocation of 12 points and with no offences this can be raised to 15 points. Points are deducted for any driving transgression. A list of offences and the points penalty involved can be obtained from the local traffic office. Their website also allows drivers to check their points tally at any time.

Those who are not officially resident in Spain will simply be fined for traffic offences, with an expectation that these will be paid on the spot.

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Posted by on 11/24/2013 23:01:00

Driving In Spain

There seems to be a perception that
driving rules and attitudes to driving in Spain are much more lax than the UK.
If you own a property in Spain and live here or are a regular visitor – and are
an owner or regular car user here – then it’s important that you realise that
this is not the case.

Just as in the UK, the police here
have regular purges on speeding, so it’s important, as you drive around, that
you pay attention to the speed signs. This guide will hopefully help too –




·     

Autopista (motorway eg
AP7 or E90, often toll roads) – max speed 120kph or 73mph




·     

Autovia (dual
carriageway, eg A8) – limits vary from 80 to 110kph




·     

Carretera National
(highways with road prefixes of C or CN) – speeds are as signed


If you are stopped for speeding, it’s
likely that the police officer will also check to make sure you are carrying
all that is legally required. This is –




·     

Two red EU warning
triangles




·     

Enough florescent jackets
for the number of seats in the car.




·     

A spare pair, if you wear
corrective glasses




·     

Current driving licence –
a certified copy is acceptable




·     

ITV paperwork – a
certified copy is acceptable




·     

Vehicle log book – a
certified copy is acceptable




 



Though not a legal requirement, it’s
suggested that you also carry your road tax payment receipt and car insurance
policy with receipt.


Additionally the police could well
take note of other legal requirements –




·   

There must be nothing on
rear seats (passengers apart). The logic is that shopping could roll off and
cause the driver to lose control of the car.




·   

All windows must be
clean.




·   

The number plates must be
visible and not mud splattered.




·   

The driver must not be
using a mobile phone.




·   

The driver must not be
using headphones or earphones.




·   

All occupants must be
wearing seat belts




·   

Children, up to 12 years must
be in the rear of the vehicle




·   

Babies up to 9 months old
(weighing up to 10 kilos) must be in a carrycot across the back seat, secured
with car safety belts or other approved safety attachments




·   

The driver must be a
minimum of 18 years of age




·   

The driver’s footwear
must be substantial – barefeet, flip flops, and sandals are not acceptable




·   

As elsewhere, drinking
while under the influence of alcohol is taboo, and government statistics tell
us that between 30% and 50% of all Spanish deaths in road traffic accidents are
caused by alcohol excesses. In Spain the legal limit is 0.5g/l blood or
0.25mg/l breath.


In Spain, traffic lights (semaforas)
are more often than not situated at your stop line for the junction. So you can
see them changing when you are first in the queue, there are smaller lights on
the support post. An amber flashing light means you are approaching a hazard,
such as a crossing. You can pass through this light with caution, if it seems
to be clear to do so.


Laws for pedestrian crossings were
not, until recently, as strict as those in the UK, where a driver is always at
fault, if a person is hit on the crossing. Now in Spain, you must step onto the
crossing, and show the palm of your hand to any approaching vehicles. Unlike
previously, drivers have to stop or run the risk of earning unwelcome penalty
points on their licence. Drivers should be wary of British tourists who step
out into the road having looked Right and not Left.


The final piece of advice is try not
be smart. A Guardia Officer stopped me and said "Papers”. I replied "Scissors,
and that beats papers”.  I should be
home by Christmas.

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Posted by on 09/05/2013 10:16:00