Spain Explained

New traffic laws in Spain

Last updated on October 28th, 2019 at 05:03 pm.

Whether new traffic laws in Spain are designed to make the roads safer or increase revenue for the traffic department, will always be debated. Whatever your conclusion the new raft of legislation aimed at road users is going to keep trafico busy for the foreseeable future.

There is a lot of confusion about the laws, partly because much of the detail is still missing. Not until a new Spanish highway code is released will we know exactly what some of these new rules will look like. However, seeing as the new law, ‘la Ley sobre Tráfico, Circulación de Vehículos a motor y Seguridad vial’ has been in operation since 9th May 2014.

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To help you get to grips with what you can and can’t do, we’ve tried to summarise the main sections of the law in the table below.

Drinking and driving

Fines for being over the legal alcohol limit are increasing from 500 euros to up to 1,000 euros in certain cases. For example, if you are more than double the limit or have been fined before. It is important to remember that the limit is lower than that in some other countries, over 0.05%

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs

The fine for driving under the influence of drugs (excluding prescription drugs) will be up to a maximum of 1,000 euros and 6 points, irrespective of how many drugs have been taken. Detection will be through saliva.

Drinking and drugs for road users

If you are a road user as a pedestrian or driver you will be required to submit to testing for alcohol and drugs if your involved in a car accident or have committed another road traffic infringement.

Speed limits

There are two new speed limits. In urban roads the limit will be 20 km/h in some inner city areas and 130 km/h in certain stretches of motorway. A fine of 100 euros might be applied for small infractions. For example for driving at 21km/h in a 20 km/h zone. Further details will be provided in the Spanish Highway code.

Fining without stopping

A fine might be applied where the police are unable to pursue and stop the offender if they are able to note the vehicle registration.  

Driving if suffering from cancer

A doctor can review the limitations and restrictions on the right to drive. This should lead to relaxations on prohibition. Further details will be provided in the Spanish highway code.

Use of radar detectors

Radar detectors will be prohibited and there will be a fine of 200 euros and 3 points. Further details will be provided in the Spanish highway code.

Cycling helmets

Minors under the age of 16 must wear a cycling helmet whatever type of road they are cycling on.

Other cycle laws

Cars must not overtake if a bicycle is travelling on the other side of the road and such a maouevre could put the cyclist in danger. 

Bicycles can now travel below the minimum speed limit.

To overtake a cyclist you can occupy part of the opposite lane  

Foreign registered vehicles

Residents of Spain who are driving a foreign registered vehicle must change the plate to a Spanish one or register the vehicle with the DGT. This is not yet in operation as further details will be provided in the Spanish Highway code. 

Foreign, European drivers

If a foreign European driver commits an offence on a Spanish road it will be possible to share data with the country of origin.  

New road offences

New offences include; carrying out road works without notifying the authority responsible for traffic management, the falling of a load from a vehicle,  

Restricting pollution levels  

Some vehicles with high emissions will have restrictions applied to their circulation for  environmental reasons. 

Collision with huntable animals

If a species of game is hit it will be the responsibility of the driver. However the state might be liable if   the possibility of loose animals has not been indicated or broken fences haven’t been mended. 

Fines discount

Previously if you paid your fine within 15 days you were liable to a discount of 50%. This has been extended to 20 days.

Child restraints

Drivers must stick to the rules around child restraints and these include a prohibition on children sitting in the front of the car unless all the place in the back are taken by other children.

Child seats

If you are found to have the wrong type of child restraint then your car can be impounded. 

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