Phone use, protecting cyclists, and speed cameras: Get to know the new traffic rules

New guidelines aim to improve the safety and security of Spanish roads for all users, with particular focus on car drivers

Barcelona's Ronda Litoral road in September 2019 (by Aina Martí)
Barcelona's Ronda Litoral road in September 2019 (by Aina Martí) / Angus Clelland

Angus Clelland | Barcelona

March 31, 2022 10:57 AM

Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has recently announced a new set of traffic laws which has recently come into force all across the country, affecting drivers, riders and pedestrians alike.

Many of the rules clarify the licence points reduction for particular offences. Introduced in 2006, the system aims to reward prudent and considerate drivers by awarding points, whilst punishing careless or reckless ones by taking them away.

Losing all your points can invalidate your licence, so to make sure that doesn’t happen, below is a summary of all the new rules now in place.

New rules for drivers

Until now, cars and motorcycles were allowed to exceed the speed limit by 20km/h in order to overtake another vehicle. This is now no longer the case and drivers should always remain within the limit.

Not using a seat belt, child restraint systems and other protection devices, or the misuse of such carries a penalty of 4 licence points.

If you drive while holding mobile phone devices, you risk losing 6 points. This includes when the car is stationary at traffic lights.

If a driver wishes to use their phone in the car, they must pull over and turn the engine off, so that they are not obstructing other road users.

To overtake a bicycle or moped, you must use the adjacent lane on roads with 2 or more lanes in each direction.

In the case of single-lane roads, you must maintain a minimum of 1.5 meters or risk losing 6 points.

Pedestrians now have right of way over vehicles in pedestrian crossings, on the pavement and in pedestrianized zones.

New rules for motorbikes/mopeds

If you have a motorcycle or moped, you may only use certified or approved wireless devices in your crash helmet for communication or navigation purposes. Using your phone wedged between your head and your helmet is forbidden.

Not wearing a helmet or not wearing one properly will cause you to lose 4 points.

New rules for e-scooters and other personal electric vehicles

If you are underage, your blood alcohol level must be 0.0%.

Remember that e-scooters are prohibited from driving on highways and expressways.

New rules affecting cyclists

When cars overtake, they must use the adjacent lane on roads with 2 or more lanes in each direction.

On single lane roads, drivers must maintain a minimum of 1.5 meters to the cyclist or risk losing 6 points.

It is illegal for cars to stop or park your vehicle in a bike lane or on cycle paths. 

If you are underage, your blood alcohol level must be 0.0%.

Respecting rules and signs

Now, it is mandatory to respect the traffic restrictions that are imposed in response in the event of high pollution levels, and in Low Emission Zones (ZBE).

Driving licence

You no longer need to bring your physical driving licence with you when you go somewhere. You can prove that you have a valid licence on the miDGT App.

When you take a driving licence test to either first obtain or regain your licence or other driving administration procedures, you cannot use unauthorized electronic devices. It is also a very serious offence to collaborate or assist another person in this. Those who do so will cause the applicant to not be allowed to take the said tests for six months.

Other new rules

Carrying speed camera blockers in vehicles is now prohibited. Doing so means the loss of 3 points.

Throwing objects that can cause accidents or fires thrown onto the road or in its vicinity could incur the loss of 6 points.

To find further information on these new laws that came into effect on March 21, as well as the penalties that are incurred, see the DGT website page on the topic.

The points system

  • In general, you start with a balance of 12 points.

  • However, novice drivers and any driver who has just regained their licence after being withdrawn start at 8 points.


Your points balance can change:

  • Being a good driver and/or taking awareness courses earn you points.

  • Your points tally will go from 8 to 12 if you go two years without an offence.

  • It will then increase again to 14 after 3 years, and before reaching its maximum of 15 after another 3 years.

  • Committing offences loses points, until you reach zero.

  • If you get to zero points, your licence will no longer be valid and you will not be able to drive any vehicle, although you can recover points before this happens.

  • The time period to recover your initial points balance is 2 years, regardless of the offence(s) committed.

For more information on the points system visit the DGT website.