New traffic legislation comes into force in June

New traffic legislation comes into force in June


Guardia Civil Trafico

The Spanish Government recently introduced new traffic laws that will affect how motorists and cyclists use the country’s roads.

Here are twenty of the biggest changes that will affect motorists and cyclists on Spanish roads from June 2014:

  1. The wearing of helmets in urban areas is mandatory for cyclists under 16. The original intention was for this to apply to all cyclists regardless of age, but common sense appears to have prevailed. Failure to comply could lead to fines of 200 euros for parents.
  2. Children under 1.35 metres tall may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle. Police will be able to stop and fine drivers carrying children in the front passenger seat, unless all the back seats are already taken up by other children also under the height limit (or the car has no back seats at all). Taxis will have to follow the same rules, but parents, not taxi drivers, will be held liable for fines of up to 200 euros.
  3. Driving with twice the legal limit of alcohol in the blood will now entail a fine of up to 1,000 euros (previously 500). Those caught driving under the influence of alcohol twice within the same year will be hit with a 2,000-euro fine the second time around.
  4. The new law eliminates the need to prove that drug use influenced a person’s driving. Now, all it takes is a saliva test: if the result shows the presence of drugs in the body, drivers will be presented with a 1,000 euro fine regardless of whether the drugs affected their driving or not. Prescription drugs are excluded.
  5. Alcohol and drug tests for pedestrians. Pedestrians caught violating a traffic regulation – by crossing the road at the wrong place (jaywalking), for instance – will be obliged to submit to a drug and alcohol test. Until now, this was only the case if they were involved in an accident.
  6. While the current speed limit on highways and freeways is 120kph, the new laws allow for a raising of this to 130kph. The new code scheduled for approval in June will determine where and when this speed limit may be applicable. Penalties will be the same, starting at 100 euros for vehicles going up to 150kph.
  7. There  minimum speed restrictions for bicycles. This change aims to solve a problem faced by cyclists in urban areas. Until now, vehicles could not travel at a speed below 50 percent of the limit. Motorways remain off-limits to cyclists.
  8. The new laws expressly prohibits the use of speed camera detectors: drivers caught using them will be liable to fines of 200 euros and the loss of three points on their license. Speed camera jammers are considered much more serious and entail penalties of 6,000 euros and six points off the permit. Only alert systems offering information about the locations of speed cameras based on databases will be legal. Drivers with GPS devices incorporating speed camera detection capabilities will have to deactivate this option.
  9. Foreign residents must register their vehicles. Because foreigners living in Spain were not under the obligation to register their cars here, in practice it was difficult to get them to pay traffic fines or submit to controls. The new regulations will determine the deadlines and conditions for vehicle registration.
  10. It will be considered a serious offense to conduct any kind of road works without first informing the relevant traffic authorities.
  11. Dropping items of any kind on the road will carry high penalties because of “the danger it poses to other road users.”
  12. Obstructing health department or traffic inspectors carrying out checks on driving schools and other vehicle-related centres will be considered an offense.
  13. Police officers will be able to fine vehicles without stopping them if they are performing duties that prevent them from doing so or giving chase.
  14. Under the new law, drivers will always be considered to blame in the event of a collision with a game animal unless it can be proven that the animal was on the road as a result of a hunt held that day or within 12 hours of one having taken place. The state will only be accountable if it fails to provide proper warning signals or to mend broken fences. In practice this means that no compensation will be awarded in the event of a driver being killed or seriously injured after a collision with an animal on one of Spain’s nearly 25,000 hunting preserves.
  15. The 50 percent discount for early payment of fines is to be extended to 20 days. This is up from the current 15 days.
  16. Vehicles may be barred from entering certain roadways based on environmental criteria. The Environment Ministry will establish the exact rules governing this point.
  17. New reasons for immobilizing vehicles. As well as the vehicles of drivers who let children ride without the proper safety devices, authorities will also be able to immobilize those being driven without the proper permit (a C permit in the case of vehicles weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg and a D permit in the case of buses).
  18. Ban on taking unsafe vehicles to other countries. This article is an application of the United Nations’ Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which aims to discourage the importing and exporting of new or used vehicles deemed unsafe.
  19. Priority for tow trucks. Tow trucks on their way to assist motorists will have right of way and have to be treated the same way as ambulances.
  20. Fewer driving restrictions for cancer patients. At the moment cancer sufferers are hardly ever allowed to drive, unless their doctor takes it up with the traffic authority. But improved medical treatment is set to be reflected in the new road rules, which will place fewer restrictions on patients.


  1. I don’t understand number 9. “Foreign residents must register their vehicles”. They have to do that today. If you reside in Spain you must register your vehicle to Spanish number plates.

  2. All vehicles on non Spanish plates, Must reregister to Spanish plates within 90 days of arriving in Spain. Or risk confiscation of vehicle.

  3. I think no 5 is really taking it a step too far…talk about police state!!!
    Drivers should always b vigilant for pedestrians who maybe “worse for wear” but fining pedestrians????? This is really becoming. Police state…whereas only 100 euros fine for people breaking the 130km per hr speed limit,on one of the most dangerous roads in Europe, seems a poor price to pay…Does “dangerous driving” exist here as an offence????It should do….!!!!!!

  4. Seems to me the Spanish powers that be get together, draw a fine price out of a hat , then dream up a suitable REDICULOUS offense to apply that number to ! Its a police state ! soon you wont be able to step outside your front door without the risk of bring hit with a spanish fine for something ! Its sad ! The only thing i agree with are fines for drink drivers !

  5. how about stopping cars parking on pavements zebra crossings etc, especially in july and august, when the spanish can do what they want, no police around them months, but they all appear again middle sept when the spanish holiday makers have gone.

  6. “The wearing of helmets in urban areas is mandatory for cyclists under 16. The original intention was for this to apply to all cyclists regardless of age, but common sense appears to have prevailed.”

    Not sure how this is common sense.

  7. I don’t understand the driving laws for cancer patients ,does anybody know were i can get more information
    Many thanks x

  8. “How long do speeding fines last before they expire?”
    – about the same time as a murder conviction!

  9. With reference to being the owner of a vehicle in Spain and having to register it if here for 90 days.
    What if you are not the owner?
    There are lease schemes where you are not the owner.Long term hired cars. Motorbility vehicles belong to Motorbility not the driver for the duration of the scheme?
    Does anyone know what the situation with these would be?

  10. I’ve heard that you now have to change your UK licence to a Spanish one as well as carry 2 hi vis vest, 2 bottles of water and 2 triangles.

    The police checks on local roundabouts have had people fines of up to a few hundred euros, has anyone else heard this?


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