Licence Renewal For Drivers Aged 65-Plus To Change From Next Year

For the under-65s, it is not thought any amendments will be made to the current 10-year renewal period.

Licence renewal at any age automatically involves a ‘psycho-technical’ examination, where the driver gives details of their current medical situation, performs an eye test and takes a ‘reaction time’ test, typically involving hitting a button to stop a ‘virtual’ car from smashing into a wall or colliding with a pedestrian. Given the simplicity of the current ‘psycho-technical’ test, the DGT is planning on making these more thorough. Any amendments are expected to be in place before the end of 2023. 

As there is no upper age limit for driving, an average of 10% of motorists aged 65 or more fail the ‘psycho-technical’ test and are unable to renew their licences. This does not necessarily mean they have to give up driving for good – it may be due to a health condition which is expected to be resolved or successfully managed in due course, or eyesight problems which are possible to correct, such as through a cataract operation or, simply, because of spectacles being unsuitable and needing replacement. Around 70% of the over-65s who renew their licences have some kind of restriction placed on them.

A brief description of licence renewal

The process is usually relatively straightforward once a resident has a Spanish driving licence – an appointment at their nearest specialist clinic, which are typically found in most towns, will involve a screen coordination test, eye test and interview about current health and medication, possibly with a requirement for a GP or relevant specialist consultant to provide a letter of confirmation, then upon production of a passport-sized biometric photo and payment of a fee, normally around €40 to €60, the centre staff will handle the rest. You should make the appointment before your licence expires, since being caught driving with an out of date one can attract a hefty fine.

The admin process is more involved for those who are exchanging their national licence from their country of origin for a Spanish one and will include a visit to the provincial traffic authority, meaning many residents in this situation opt to pay a gestor, or legal and financial advisor, to handle the procedure on their behalf. This costs around €100. 

Driving Small Electric Vehicles To Be Legal From Age 16 

The DGT says it is considering launching a ‘B1’ licence for those who are as yet too young to drive a car, in a bid to increase mobility for those living in remote rural areas and to give them a safer, less-polluting option than motorcycles.

Additionally, an AM licence for driving four-wheeled, 425-kilo vehicles – as well as for riding small motorbikes, scooters and mopeds – which are only capable of speeds up to 45 kilometres per hour (28mph), is expected to be launched for young people from age 15.

In Spain, the minimum age for starting to learn to drive a car is 18 and learners are only allowed behind the wheel during lessons with an approved driving school – practising in the family car with parents and L-plates is against the law, even on car parks – meaning considerable costs incurred before a test is even taken. Once they have passed, they have a licence for a vehicle of up to 3.5 tonnes and capable of top speeds of 120 kilometres per hour (74.6mph).

Being able to get a licence for a small car with a limited engine size and electrically-powered means young adults will have acquired road sense and vehicle-handling experience before they start learning to drive a full-sized car and also will get them used to non-petrol and non-diesel vehicles, encouraging their wider use once they eventually become more mainstream.  The type of vehicle the 16-plus age group would be allowed to drive would have a maximum weight of 450 kilos, or 0.4 tonnes and a top power of 20.4CV.

This new B1 licence for small electric vehicles is part of an ongoing strategy to improve safety and sustainable mobility at national level between now and the year 2030. Moves include encouraging airbag installation in motorbikes, with compulsory airbags for those used by test candidates trying for their category ‘A’ licences, applicable to larger motorcycles.

Safe driving awareness courses will be ‘reinforced’ and taking one will allow a driver to recover up to two points lost from a licence due to motoring offences.

Fourth Covid Jab

Spain’s contracts with pharmaceutical companies, signed through the European Union, mean vaccines will be a new formula adapted to protect against newer mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Initially, they will be rolled out to the over-80s and the immune-compromised who have not yet had a fourth dose. The original plan, earlier this year, was for only these people to be vaccinated a fourth time, but the immunisation schedule was halted in May. Spain wanted to wait for the updated vaccine formula, which would protect against the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. Dose number four has only been given to those with a depleted immune system which means their protection against the virus after being treble-jabbed remained significantly lower than that of the general population.

Anyone who has been treble-jabbed, or double-jabbed within the last 272 days, does not need to show a Covid certificate when travelling or returning to Spain from another European Union member State. Those who might want to travel beyond the EU’s borders and who downloaded a Covid certificate after their first jab should be aware of the time limits and ensure they acquire an updated one showing their third dose. This, at present, does not have an expiry date for travel purposes, although that may change when dose number four becomes available to the general population.