Spain’s Traffic Laws: Alcohol Limits and Penalties

Drink Driving In Spain

Image depicting drink-driving. Credit: nikamo/

Is it worth the risk to drink and drive? According to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), alcohol plays a part in 30 to 50 per cent of fatal accidents in Spain, making it a major road safety concern.

Spanish law strictly regulates blood alcohol levels for drivers. Alcohol, a depressant, impairs brain function, affecting a driver’s reactions, concentration, and coordination, writes

The legal blood alcohol limit is set at 0.5 grams per litre (g/l) or 0.25 milligrams per litre (mg/l) in exhaled air. For new and professional drivers, this limit is lower, at 0.3 g/l or 0.15 mg/l.

Penalties For Exceeding Alcohol Limits

Crossing the 0.25 mg/l threshold results in a €500 fine and a four-point deduction on the driving licence. Exceeding 0.50 mg/l incurs a €1,000 fine and a six-point loss.

Repeat offenders within a year face similar penalties. Driving with an alcohol level above 0.6 mg/l or 1.2 g/l is criminalised, potentially leading to imprisonment and a driving ban.

Refusing to undergo alcohol testing can lead to a jail term ranging from half a year to a full year. Additionally, offenders can lose their driving privileges for a period between one and four years.

It’s also important to note that if a driver is found to have alcohol in their system, their vehicle will be impounded.

Zero Tolerance For Underage Drinking And Driving

The law is even stricter for under-18 drivers of scooters, bicycles, or mopeds up to 125cc, who must adhere to a 0.0 alcohol limit. Violations lead to fines up to €1,000 and point deductions, except for bicycle and electric scooter riders.

0.0 mg/l for under 18s €500 (up to 0.5 mg/l). €1,000 (if it exceeds 0.5 mg/l) 4 points on your license (unless you have a bicycle or electric scooter)
Between 0.25 mg/l and up to 0.5 mg/l. *Between 0.15 mg/l and 0.3 mg/l for beginners and professionals €500 4 license points
More than 0.5 mg/l. *More than 0.3 mg/l for beginners and professionals €1,000 6 license points
Repeat offenders €1,000 4 or 6 points, depending on the rate

Common Myths Debunked

Common misconceptions like running, drinking water, or chewing gum don’t lower blood alcohol levels. Driving after consuming alcohol increases accident risk significantly, with a 25-fold increase in risk at alcohol levels between 1.5 and 2.4 g/l.

In summary, Spain’s laws aim to curtail the risks associated with drunk driving. With strict limits and severe penalties, they underscore the importance of sober driving for everyone’s safety.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.