As an ex-pat living in Spain, you may have found that there is a great deal of misleading and contradictory information about the items that you should carry in your car when driving in your adopted country. Friends and colleagues may tell you one thing and the internet will tell you something else. Added to this you'll probably quickly discover that new laws are being introduced all the time, which means that a great deal of online information is quickly out of date.
In spite of these hurdles, it is absolutely imperative that you keep yourself up to date on all of the changes relating to what you should carry in your car when driving in Spain, because failure to do so could lead to points on your license and a hefty fine.
Let's start with the documents that are compulsory to carry.
1. ITV/MOT - Inspección Técnica de Vehiculos
The equivalent to the UK MOT is the ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehiculos). All cars that are over four years of age are required to pass the ITV. Once you have successfully passed the ITV you get a coloured sticker that you place at the top of the windscreen.
You then have to keep the ITV Report - the Spanish MOT equivalent document – in the car with you at all times.
2. Log Book - Permiso de Circulación
Also legally required is the Permiso de Circulación. This is like a log book - a document that shows the plate number of the car, who the owner is and any other relevant details.
3. Insurance Policy Document
You should also carry your insurance policy with you. While the insurance document is not strictly compulsory for all journeys, the fact is that if you have any sort of traffic accident, then you will need to know your policy number in order to complete the Accident Agreement form.
4. European Accident Agreement
European Accident Agreement (in Spanish "Parte de Declaración Amistosa de Accidentes" or sometimes "Declaración Amistosa de Accidente de Automóvil") is not a strict requirement, but it is highly recommended that you carry one in your car. Some drivers claim to have been told not to fill in this form, but this is incorrect advice. This form is vital in the case of an accident. If you do not have one, ask your insurance company.
Completing this form in the event of an accident can greatly reduce the length of time that the compensation process takes, while simultaneously improving the legal protection of the parties involved in the accident. You should complete the details of the drivers and their insurance policy numbers and collect any witness details, as these people can then be easily called to testify. The form can be completed in English.
If agreement is reached regarding the cause of the accident, then both parties can sign the form. If no agreement can be reached, it is a good idea to call the Guardia Civil or the Local Police who will help to determine how the accident happened. A statement form without the signature of the two parties does not have any legal validity and won't be considered by the insurance companies and this will of course make the compensation process much more difficult.
It is worth taking some time to familiarise yourself with this form before you have an accident.
5. A Valid Driving Licence
Visitors riding or driving in Spain must have reached the minimum ages laid down for residents of Spain, even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a motor vehicle in Spain until the age of 18 years.
Remember that if you have been resident in Spain for more than two years you must renew your driving licence to a Spanish one. From 19th January 2013 EU citizens who had been officially resident in Spain for two or more years had to renew their existing driving licenses. For those who became resident after this date the driving license must be renewed two years after becoming resident.
You can renew your licence via the DGT. Simply visit the local office or access their website for more details http://www.dgt.es/ or call them on 060. You will then be required to sit a basic aptitude and fitness test before submitting the relevant documentation and a fee.
If you do not want to carry the original documents with you when you are driving, you must go to a notary, who will make a photocopy from the originals and stamp the copies. This will allow you to carry photocopies in your car.
You can read more about changing your driving licence here http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/spain-news/360-expats-in-spain-must-renew-driving-licences-after-two-years.html
Note: All documents must be originals and NOT photocopies. The only exception is when a copy has been stamped and certified by a Notary.
Other Compulsory Items
The fine for not having any of the above in your vehicle is 80.00 Euros!
If you have hired a vehicle from a car hire company it is the hire companies responsibility to make sure that the items above are accessible in the vehicle. So flourescent jackets, warning triangles, spare tyres, ITV and logbook must be included. If you are stopped by the traffic police and these are not available it is the car hire companies responsibility and it is they who will be fined. You can read further info about hire cars in our other article A Guide To Car Hire In Spain.
Don't Drive While Wearing Flip-Flops
While it is not illegal to drive in flip flops, if it is thought that an accident was caused as a result of you wearing them, you may get fined. It is dangerous to drive wearing flip flops as they may slip off and distract you.
Traffic police now have sole discretion as to whether they can fine you or not if they believe that an accident was due to the wearing of flip flops!
Radar Detectors are Prohibited
Radar Detectors are to be banned under new laws in Spain and anyone caught using them will face a 300 Euro fine and 3 points on their licence. The ownership, transport or use of a radar jammer is strictly prohibited.
For further information on traffic laws in Spain, we suggest you follow the Torrevieja Traffic Department on Facebook who provide a wealth of information and the rules and regulations of driving in Spain. https://www.facebook.com/DrivingSpain/