By John Ensor •
Updated: 04 Dec 2023 • 13:54
Image depicting drink-driving.
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 Race.es.
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.
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.
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.
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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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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