Since the law in Spain changed recently, a number of questions have arisen regarding using a mobile phone when driving.
Using a mobile phone when driving is never a good idea, since distractions are one of the principal contributing factors to road traffic collisions.
In Spain, you risk a fine and the loss of 6 points from your licence. However, since the law changed, you don´t even have to be using the phone to commit an offence, simply holding the device can result in a penalty.
This point has raised the first question.
Can you use a mobile phone as a navigation device?
Yes, you can. However, there are rules. The phone must be secure, for example being carried in a cradle fixed to the vehicle’s dashboard. It must not interfere with your primary field of vision, so be careful if your cradle fixes to the windscreen. You must not touch the device when you are driving. If you need to reprogram your route, you must stop your vehicle in a safe, legal, and convenient location to do so.
Can I use my mobile when stopped in traffic?
No, you can’t. Being stopped in traffic, or at traffic lights, you are still considered as driving. Your sole attention must be the road. If you do touch or use your mobile in these circumstances, you risk a fine, in the same way as if you are moving. You must first stop your vehicle in a safe, legal, and convenient location.
If I am a tourist, will I be fined?
Yes, you will. If you are a driver who doesn’t hold a Spanish licence, so a UK license holder for example, you will have to pay the fine to the traffic police on the stop. If you are unable to do so, they are able to impound your vehicle.
Can I use a Bluetooth headset?
No, you can’t. Having anything which is put into the ear is illegal in Spain. Therefore, Bluetooth headsets are banned. The same would apply if you were to be listening to music through headphones, this is not permitted.
Can I use my mobile when riding a bicycle or scooter?
No, you can’t. When they are on the road, bicycles and scooters are classed as vehicles. Therefore, all laws which apply to larger vehicles such as cars apply to them too.
Distractions are the leading cause of fatal incidents. In 2020, in 31% of fatal incidents, distractions were the contributing factor. Mobile phones are the main cause of distraction.