Just to clarify, because the message clearly isn’t getting through to some, that Spain has strict alcohol limits for drinking when driving. They are 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood = 0.25 mg per litre of exhaled air, which, as a general guide, is two small glasses of wine or one small can of beer (police descriptions) for a man of average build and weighing around 12 stone – obviously less for smaller people.
Fines are €1,000 for drivers who have double the permitted alcohol level, or who are second offenders, plus a 6 point penalty; for first offenders, or those with less than double the permitted alcohol level, the fine is €500 with a 6 point penalty. If a driver refuses an alcohol or drugs test, s/he will be committing a further offence under article 383 of the Código Penal which can be penalised with a prison sentence of between six months and a year, and a driving ban of between one and four years. (First offenders won’t be imprisoned). This is in addition to an automatic maximum €1,000 fine as though the driver had tested positive with double permitted alcohol level. Vehicles of drunk drivers will be impounded if there is no other (sober) driver who can take control.
Where there is a zero limit, however, is with drugs. Here the slightest trace will result in a fine of €1,000, plus a 6 point penalty, and police say that detectable traces of drugs can remain even six hours later.
A few other points:
- UK provisional licences are not valid in Spain and so may not be used for driving here under any circumstances and with no exceptions, because a British provisional licence is not a full EU driving licence.
- Children under three years of age or any child under 135cm tall regardless of age must be seated in the rear in a child car seat; those under twelve years of age and who are over 135cm tall must sit in a booster seat, which can be in the front or rear. (See HERE for this and a raft of other legislative measures in force for motorists since 2015).
- Flipflops are not illegal for drivers to wear but, the law requires footwear to be comfortable and, above all, safe, and Tráfico says that it does not consider flipflops to be safe. So, although technically not against the law, a fine for driving unsafely is always a possibility if wearing flipflops, and if involved in an accident whilst wearing them, a charge of dangerous driving is an actual likelihood.
Do remember that speed cameras throughout Spain are now automatically checking number plates to confirm whether cars have an insurance policy registered to them. Fines from €600 to €3,000 are already being issued for those without insurance. Police say that the first €3.50 of all insured drivers’ premiums goes towards compensation for victims of those who have not bothered or who are unable to insure themselves.