Don’t let them take your wheels!

The Spanish Road Safety Act has been amended since last year and the Guardia Civil may now, in certain circumstances, stop your car and actually prevent you driving any further by clamping it, or in some cases even confiscate your vehicle altogether!

Most of the rules are probably the same or similar to those in your home country but we suggest you have a read of the following points just to be sure you don’t get caught out and end up off the road.

Child Seats
Under Spanish law, it is the height rather than the age of a child that determines whether s/he must be carried in a child seat. A child shorter than 125cm must travel in a child seat with a back support. If the child seat does not meet the European safety standards (ECE R 44-03) you can be ordered to park up at the side of the road and continue your journey by another means of transport At a height of between 125cm and 135cm a booster cushion is sufficient  and once the child is taller than 135cm a seat is no longer mandatory

Serious defects in the car. If you drive without working front lights, rear lights, brake lights or if your car is seriously damaged, or if the car is not ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos) approved, in other words, unroadworthy, the police may immobilize the vehicle.

If the police find out that a driver has no insurance, the car will be immediately immobilised or confiscated.

Driving licence
If you are driving without a driver’s license or if you have accumulated the maximum amount of penalty points, the car will not be allowed to continue its journey.

Alcohol and drugs
If a driver is over the legal limit for alcohol or is found to be under the influence of drugs the police will immobilise the vehicle, unless another occupant is sober and can take over driving duties.

If a police officer suspects that a professional driver (of a van, truck or bus for example) is at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel the vehicle will be stopped.

If you are caught riding a motorbike or moped without a helmet, you will receive a hefty fine and your vehicle will also be stopped and may be confiscated. 

Emissions and noise
If a police officer deems that the level of emissions of a vehicle is too high or that the engine is making too much noise, the vehicle can be immobilised.

Too many occupants
A vehicle carrying more than the authorised number of occupants may be stopped and the same occupants may end up continuing their journey on foot. 

Manipulated cars
If an office suspects or finds evidence that a vehicle’s speedometer has been manipulated this may be a reason to force it off the road.

Radar detectors
If a vehicle is found to be carrying a radar jammer both the device and the vehicle will be confiscated and a very hefty fine of up to €6,000 will be issued.

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