Changes in Spanish Traffic Law

130 km/h
The new regulation of traffic that will take effect in a few days is causing a stir among those interested in hiring a car in Malaga. To avoid confusion and possible fines, we provide this summary of the salient points of the new rules:


For Foreigners

– Tourists: The exchange of information between countries has become increasingly faster. Sanctioned drivers will be identified quickly and receive the corresponding fine at home, regardless of their country of origin.

– Residents: Any vehicle with foreign registration, either on behalf of a resident or facility, shall be registered in Spain.


Travelling with children

It is mandatory to use approved seats for children who are less than 1.35 m (before stipulated depending on age).

– Children mentioned above may not travel in the passenger seat, even when using the right seat, unless all rear seats are occupied by other children with their respective seats.

– Not using the right seat can result in the immobilization of the vehicle.


Speed Limits

– New limit of 130 km/h on some stretches of highways and motorways.

Loss of points if you circulate over 150 km/h (whether the limit is 120 km/h or 130 km/h).

Fines for passing the established speed limit. No longer is taken into account the margin of error of measurement items; if you circulate just 1 km/h over the limit, you will be penalized.

– Reduction of 10 km/h in the maximum speed limit on secondary roads.

– New areas of 20 km/h and 30 km/h in town.



– Radar warning devices are allowed (e.g. with a GPS showing fixed Radars on the map) but the use of detectors will be sanctioned with fines of 200 euros and the withdrawal of 3 points from the license.


Alcohol and Drugs

– The fine for drunkenness increases from 500 to 1000 euros if the driver: Doubles the allowable rate (current maximum: 0.25 mg/l in air, 0.5 g/l in blood), refuses to perform the test or has been fined for alcohol in the past 12 months.

– There will be used saliva testing for the presence of drugs in the body of the driver. If tested positive, the driver may require a blood test to contrast the result.



– Run over an animal in a hunting area is considered the responsibility of the driver, unless it occurs by direct action (close shot, chasing prey) or poor maintenance of containment fences or signage.



– The helmet becomes mandatory for all children under 16 years in all avenues. For adults only binding on interurban roads.

Bicycles cannot be immobilized, whatever the offense committed by the conductor.


Vehicle Immobilization

– Two new assumptions are added: Any violation of the conditions set for a specific road (maximum weight, gauge, scheduling, etc.), and driving trucks or buses without permission.


Other changes

– Voluntary payment of fines: Increases from 15 days to 20 (remember that if you pay on time you can save 50%).

You can be fined without being stopped or identified. The agent simply needs to note down your registration number and infringement.
Updated (12/08/2014): Good news! This law has been dismissed by the Spanish Superior Court.

– For environmental reasons, can be restricted the access to certain roads for certain vehicles.


While not all aforementioned points will affect you, it never hurts to know the latest updates about traffic laws. Feel free to comment on this entry if you have any questions about the new regulations. Hasta pronto!

16 Responses to Changes in Spanish Traffic Law

  1. Eddie says:

    The comments about driving in sandals being dangerous can only have been made by those who have never done it, I’m not talking about flip-flops but proper sandals such as Birkenstocks.

    I live in France and wear nothing else year round including when competing informally in time trials and hill climbs and I can assure you that they are as safe to drive in as any other style of footwear.

  2. Katie B says:

    Thanks for the information, people, especially visitors and tourists, need to know about traffic law changes
    Thanks again

  3. Chris says:

    Concerning sandals – my understanding is that all drivers footwear must have a strap around the back of the ankle, not that sandals were banned.

    • Hello Chris and other clients concerned about driving in sandals!

      This law states that drivers must, at all times, be able to control their vehicles. It is clear that some kind of flip flops and sandals can easily slip, this may make it difficult for the driver, or even impossible, to use the pedals, clutch, brake or accelerator. Therefore, driving with an inappropriate shoe wear, besides being a clear negligence, is a punishable fact that would lead to the corresponding traffic ticket.

      However, we would like to make a distinction between sandals and flip flops. Driving with flip flops is a serious irresponsibility. The flip-flops having no attachment to the heel can easily slip and get under the pedals and may cause an accident.

      It is clear that a traffic officer will find quite difficult to determine the type of shoes we wear when driving, but if we get stopped and we are driving with flip flops it will be rather difficult for us to escape from the corresponding fine.
      Article 17 of the General Traffic Regulations (Royal Decree 1428/2003 of 21 November).

      Kind regards!

  4. Wendy says:

    No one has mentioned the terrible accidents on the A7, If it saves lives it has achieved its aim.
    If only the other drivers would stop tailgating on this road a few more lives might be saved., and no I do not hog the outside lane.
    The La Cala exit /entrance needs some serious adjustments to make it safer,it probable cost more to put up a camera and run it than it would have done. To make the road safer.

    • Definitely, those small entrances/exits from La Cala to Marbella need serious improvements. In the long run, it’s cheaper to revamp roads than wasting money in modern cameras and fine systems, but you know, some politicians just think in 4-year terms… The only advice that really works is taking extra care on the road!

  5. Stephen says:

    I think you Will find that both Uk and Irland opted out of the European law on reciprocal information of driving offences
    In other words a UK reg driver or Irland reg vehicle will not be
    receiving points in the UK

    • Hi Stephen, currently UK drivers won’t lose their points, but it may change very soon. Apart from that, all fines are charged, no matter the country (money talks!!!).


  6. Paul Jones says:


    When do these new speeding laws come I to effect? Is this why the police were driving very close behind me to make me speed so they can fine me for going slightly over!?



    • Hi Paul, some of them were applied the 8 of May and the rest are valid from today.

      That’s a very weird behavior for a policeman :S, I hope it doesn’t become a common practice!

      Best regards,

    • Now I’m thinking about what you commented, sometimes they do that to “force” you moving to the lane on your right. Many people in Spain drive by default on the middle or left lane in the highways causing delays and some dangerous situations. Is it possible that the lane on your right was empty?


  7. Chris Williams says:

    I heard that there is a law against driving in sandals. Is this correct?

    • Hi Chris, there is no specific law against driving in sandals, but there is one that states that “drivers should be able to control their vehicles without any impediment”.

      So I would suggest you to avoid driving in sandals, it can be dangerous and you could get fined too, depending on the strictness of some agents.


    • Donald says:

      That is hilarious, getting fined because driving in sandals…that would never happen in Central Europe 😀

    • Erik says:

      Not hilarious at all, but very sensible! Driving in sandals is stupid

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