Drivers without a licence or without any points left could be sent to prison
Wednesday this week was the last day of the moratorium conceded by the government following the reform of traffic laws last December. The new penal code made driving without a licence an offence punishable by a prison sentence of between 3 to 6 months. Other sanctions for the same offence include having your licence taken away for between 1 and 2 years or being ordered to do community service of between 31 and 90 days duration.
However, following a move by the senate, the government conceded a moratorium until 1st May 2008. The same penalties are applicable to those drivers who have had their licence taken away through a judicial decision or those that have lost all 12 points from their driving licence.
According to the Department of Traffic (DGT), more than 25,000 drivers were punished for driving without a valid licence in 2007 and it is calculated that around 30,000 people drive on Spanish roads everyday without a being licenced to drive.
DGT has sent letters to the 25,000 people who were sanctioned for driving without a licence informing them the new driving laws due to come into effect tomorrow.
This campaign is aimed at informing drivers of the new laws due to come into effect tomorrow, because it thought that most cases are down to people who are normally licensed to drive but who are doing so under irregular conditions.
DGT also points out that anyone involved in an accident and who is found to be without a valid licence has repercussions for all those involved as insurance companies refuse to pay out if the accident involves a person driving without a licence regardless or not of whether the car is covered by an up to date insurance policy or not.
The penal code amended last December also allows for prison sentences for the following driving offences: breaking the 60 km/h speed limit in residential areas, going over 80 km/h on main roads, being above 0.
60 milligrams of alcohol per litre of air and 1.2 grams per litre of blood or refusing to be tested for alcohol levels and for those who drive without a valid licence.
The new laws come into effect on the eve of a 4 day bank holiday in Spain when it is expected that the volume of traffic on Spanish roads will increase significantly.
See: Driving in Spain