Fines in Spain: offences and penalties

Some years ago Spain had a serious road safety problem, which was solved with information campaigns and serious traffic fines for the most dangerous offences. Spanish roads are getting safer, but fines are still a real risk when driving in Spain.

Driving in Spain

EU and UK citizens with a valid driving licence can drive in Spain, where Spanish traffic regulations apply. This means that the penalties and fines set out in the Spanish highway code will apply. The good news is that Spanish regulations are very similar to those of its European neighbours, so if we respect speed limits, do not use our mobile phones at the wheel, wear seat belts and do not drink alcohol before driving, we can be quite relaxed.

Drivers from other countries will need an international driving licence in addition to their own.

Can a driver from another country be fined in Spain?

Yes, any driver can be fined in Spain if they commit a traffic offence. If the officers stop the vehicle, the fine will be handed over to the driver at the same time; when this is not possible, the fine will be sent to the owner of the vehicle, whether it is an individual or a company. Notification of the fine is sent by post to the vehicle owner’s home address.

These are the most common traffic offences in Spain and therefore the ones we might receive at home after a journey:

  • Speeding.
  • Not wearing a seat belt.
  • Using a mobile phone, GPS or any other device while driving.
  • Not stopping at a red light.
  • Not wearing a protective helmet (compulsory for motorbikes, quads, etc.).
  • Driving in a forbidden lane.

What to do if I receive a fine from Spain

When you receive a traffic fine from Spain, you should check that the information is correct (vehicle registration number, date, etc.). If there is any error, we will have to present allegations to the sanctioning body. If everything is correct, we will consult the payment conditions. Normally it is possible to pay with a reduction in the first few days after receiving the letter. Spanish traffic fines can be paid online or by bank transfer.

The Spanish Dirección General de Tráfico has an English-speaking citizen information telephone number from Monday to Saturday: +34987010559.

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