Among their other functions, streets are used by traffic. Drivers must not only respect the users of other vehicles, but also pedestrians.

Respect for other drivers and pedestrians involves taking responsibility for obeying traffic and road safety regulations. It is therefore necessary to be familiar with those regulations.

Before you begin driving motor vehicles or mopeds (ciclomotors), and in order to ensure that you are competent to do so, you must obtain the corresponding driving licence (permís de conduir) from the authorities. Drivers must carry a valid licence with them at all times. To obtain a Spanish driving licence, you must:

  • Be over 18 (or over 16 for a moped licence). For certain professional licences (lorries, coaches, etc.), you must be 21.

  • Have a Spanish ID document (DNI), a foreigner ID document (NIE) or a passport.

  • Be habitually resident in Spain. If you are a student, you must meet the age requirements and be able to show that you have been in Spain continuously for a minimum of six months.

  • Not be banned from driving motor vehicles or mopeds under a court order. Additionally, if you already have a licence, it must not have been suspended or confiscated.

  • Meet the psychological and physical requirements for the type of licence you are requesting. To that end, you will need a psychological and physical aptitude report (informe d'aptitud psicofísica) issued by an authorised driver examination centre (centre de reconeixement de conductors autoritzat) from the region in which you are applying for a licence. You will also need to provide an up-to-date photograph of yourself.

  • Be declared fit to drive by the local or regional traffic prefecture (Prefectura Provincial o Local de Trànsit), to which end you must pass theoretical and practical tests corresponding to the type of licence requested. The purpose of those tests is for you to show that you are familiar with the highway code, with traffic and road safety rules, and with basic mechanics.

It is a good idea to register at a driving school (autoescola), where you will receive help with and information on the procedures involved in obtaining a Spanish driving licence, as well as training to prepare you to take your driving test. You will also be told about the different types of driving licences available.

The website of the Spanish Directorate-General for Traffic features model questionnaires (for mopeds, motorcycles and cars), so that you can become familiar with and prepare for the theory tests you will have to take to obtain a driving licence.

If you have a driving licence from your country of origin...
(Si tenim el permís de conduir del nostre país d'origen...)

Driving licences issued in the European Economic Area (i.e. the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are accepted in Spain for the purposes of personal transport and using your own vehicle, provided that you are old enough to obtain the equivalent Spanish licence.

Additionally, Spain has signed bilateral agreements for the validation of driving licences with Andorra, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Bulgaria, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Morocco, Algeria, Chile, Romania, Venezuela and Croatia.

If you are from one of the above countries, you have six months, as of the date on which your residency permit (autorització de residència) becomes valid, to go to the regional traffic prefecture to enter your details in the register of drivers and validate your driving licence.

You will need to take additional tests to validate a professional licence issued in Bulgaria, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Morocco, Chile, Romania, Venezuela or Croatia. The nature of the tests will depend on your country of origin.

To validate a licence from Morocco, Algeria, Chile, Romania, Venezuela or Croatia, you will need to check the specific information corresponding to those countries.

To validate a driving licence, it is essential that you make an appointment beforehand. You can do so by telephone by dialing 060.

To view the list of licences that can be validated and the procedures involved, see

Driving licences and the penalty point system
(El carnet de conduir per punts)

Under regulations recently established by the Directorate-General for Traffic, Spanish driving licences now operate on the basis of a penalty point system, which aims to reward good drivers and punish those who break the rules. Drivers lose points when they commit offences (the exact number depends on the offence in question), which can eventually result in their licence being withdrawn.

In brief, all drivers have 12 points, except for beginners (those with less than 3 years of experience), who have 8 points. You can lose 6 points for serious offences (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, etc.). There are 4 categories of offences, corresponding to the loss of 6, 4, 3 or 2 points plus a fine. If you lose all your points, your licence will be withdrawn for 6 months if it is the first time it happens to you, or for 12 months if it happens again. You can recover points by taking road awareness and re-education courses.

Driving and the environment
(Medi ambient i conducció)

Motor vehicles are the greatest source of environmental pollution. By driving efficiently and responsibly, you can minimise your vehicle's effect on the environment. Some of the measures you can take in that respect are described below.

Efficient driving involves staying at under 80 km/h, as fuel consumption rises (and can even double) once you go above that speed. Efficient driving does not only affect fuel consumption, but also the level of wear to other vehicle parts and components, and, thus, the frequency with which they have to changed (brakes, tyres, engine oil, etc.). Driving efficiently will not only save you money, but also increase your safety.

If you have to stop for a while, switch off your vehicle's engine to avoid emitting gases into the atmosphere.

You can also reduce fuel consumption by not carrying luggage on top of your vehicle and by closing its windows.

(Les bicicletes)

More and more citizens are using bicycles as a means of urban transport. Bicycles are not only environmentally friendly, but can also reduce journey times. Many towns and cities have bike lanes to make it easier to travel by bicycle and for cyclists to use roads alongside other vehicles and pedestrians.

With a view to guaranteeing safety, towns and cities have a bylaw that governs the use of bicycles on roads. The most important aspects of that bylaw include users of other vehicles respecting bike lanes, rules on using bicycles on pavements, pedestrians' right of way and specific places for leaving bikes.

Public-spiritedness and road safety
(Civisme i seguretat viària)

With a view to minimising dangerous situations and the serious consequences of traffic accidents, there are a series of road safety regulations that everyone must follow:

Do not use mobile telephones, headsets or similar devices while driving.

Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Do not exceed the speed limit or drive recklessly.

Screens displaying images or with access to the internet are prohibited, as are television or video monitors and similar devices. GPS units are permitted.

Switch off your radio and mobile telephone when putting fuel into your vehicle.

The speed limit for cars and motorcycles on motorways and expressways is 120 km/h.

Slow down and, if necessary, stop when approaching bicycles.

Drivers must stop at signs that say STOP or cediu el pas (give way), even if they are only painted on the ground.

Everyone travelling in a vehicle must use safety belts.

Children up to the age of 12 and who are less than 1.5 m tall must always be fastened in using an approved system (child seats) suited to their weight and size.

It is compulsory for drivers to use an approved, high-visibility, reflective jacket if they get out of their vehicle while it is positioned in one of the lanes or at the side of a main road.

Pedestrians must stay off motorways and expressways.

It is everybody's responsibility to prevent accidents. Many deaths and injuries could be avoided by following a few basic safety rules.