The Guardia Civil carry out spot checks on drivers. / sur

New zero alcohol law for young road users in Spain comes into force on 21 March

The updated Traffic Law aims to make the roads safer, makes some penalties more severe and places the focus on young drivers

SUSANA ZAMORA Malaga

Many of the measures under the updated Traffic Law which was approved in December are due to come into force on 21 March, and one of the main differences compared with the existing law is that the focus is placed on young road users, who are permitted to use motorcycles, light quads and scooters from the age of 15.

One section specifically relates to alcohol and drug consumption in the under-18s. Once the new law comes into force, it will be illegal for them to have any alcohol in their bloodstream or in exhaled air at all, nor can they drive if there is any presence of drugs in their body, with the exception of prescribed medication.

However, for adult drivers the limits will remain the same as they are now:

Newly-qualified drivers: 0.3 grams of alcohol per litre of blood and 0.15 milligrams per litre of exhaled air.

Professional drivers: 0.3 grams of alcohol per litre of blood and 0.15 milligrams per litre of exhaled air.

Other drivers: 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre of blood and 0.25 milligrams per litre of exhaled air.

It has not yet certain what penalties will be imposed on under-age road users who fail a breathalyser. At present, it depends on the level of alcohol in the bloodstream:

- When this is between 0.25 mg/l and 0.50 mg/l in exhaled air (values between 0.15 and 0.30 mg/l for new drivers and professionals) the fine is 500 euros and the loss of four points from their driving licence. If a driver is caught for the second time in a year, the fine is 1,000 euros.

- If the result of the test shows more than 0.50 mg/l in exhaled air (0.30 mg/l for newly qualified drivers and professionals), the fine is 1,000 euros and the loss of six points from their driving licence.