British expats: Spain brings in tough new driving rules – points on licence

British expats in Spain have to adapt to new rules when they move. New driving laws are set to come in from March 21.

From that date, drivers of cars and motorbikes will not be allowed to exceed the speed limit by more than 20kms per hour when overtaking.

The new law is an attempt to minimise danger on Spain’s roads and reduce the number of accidents.

Drivers who break certain laws including not wearing a seatbelt or not carrying children in a car seat will lose four points from their licence.

Anyone driving with a mobile phone in their hand will lose six points from their licence.

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Drivers will also face a penalty for throwing objects from cars onto the road or nearby which could cause an accident or fire.

Anyone found guilty of doing so will lose six points from their driving licence.

Pedestrians will also be given priority over vehicles at road crossings, on pavements and in pedestrian areas.

People under the age of 18 will not be permitted to have any alcohol whatsoever in their bloodstream if they are on a bicycle or motorbike.

From July 6, an alcohol breathalyser (Alco-Lock) will be compulsory for passenger transport vehicles.

Currently, British driving licences are due to expire on February 28 in Spain. British expats will need to apply for a Spanish licence.

They will have to take a practical and theory driving test and the practical test will be in Spanish.

Hugh Elliott, the British Ambassador to Spain, has requested an extension to the driving licence deadline.

On the official British Embassy Facebook page, Brits in Spain, the Embassy said: “Hugh Elliott confirms that he has asked for an extension to the recognition of UK licences beyond the current end date of February 28.”

Robert Cardinale commented: “Almost all other EU countries have agreed to exchange but not Spain.

“I suppose this is pay back for Brexit and the way EU citizens are treated in the new UK.”

Darren Bradshaw wrote: “Please can we have a solution to this situation soon. People are just being left in limbo.

“I’m a new resident and have just ordered a new car. Don’t really understand why it’s such a difficult thing to agree on?”

British tourists can use their UK driving licence to drive in Spain for a period of six months or less.

They should check driving legislation before a road trip holiday in Spain to make sure they are compliant with rules.

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