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The Importance of Medicals for drivers in Spain.

Readers of my book will know of the information supplied about holders of foreign EU driving licences needing to take medicals here in Spain, despite the fact that many of the roadside policing authorities do not know this fact.  But the lawyers do who get involved in motoring cases and the following is what I have been afraid of for two years now.

From: Grahame Ward

Date: 15/11/2007 17:16:06


Subject: Driving medicals.


Hello Brian,

 I would like to introduce myself to you.    I am a regional chairman of neighbourhood watch in Torrevieja.   I purchased your book a couple weeks ago. By the way the cost was €24. 50 bought from Book World España, but the book is well worth buying and makes excellent reading.

  Regarding the information on page 87, where you go through the need for drivers to have periodical medicals.     I hold a UK European driving license and your book states that we need to have a medical.    We understand that Trafico in Alicante will not process this as they cannot deal with the volume this would cause.   I spoke to the clinic in Torrevieja who could not supply any further information on the subject.     They said you only have to have it if you hold a Spanish driving licence.

 I know of a recent accident in Alicante where an English lady was driving a Spanish vehicle and she was involved in a major accident whereby a driver of another vehicle was killed and her own car was written off.     Her insurance company asked for a medical certificate to which she replied that she did not have one whereupon she was told that she was therefore not insured.   It was a costly mistake as her car was brand new.

 There are thousands of Brits in this area that this could affect.  I have rung my car insurance company twice and still not had a reply concerning the above.

 Please advise the current situation as you know it.    Many thanks for your help in this matter.


 Grahame Ward.



Dear Graham,


Thank you very much for your email.  Your sad tale of the woman who has lost her car and probably worse as she was driving with a driving license that was legally deemed expired was the very type of incident I have seemingly on myown, campaigned to get across to all the expats in Spain, most of whom seem to not be bothered about being legal here.  To so many, the thought of paying the price of a bar snack for two so they can have their own books to study is unacceptable.  In this case you write about, the lady would have saved herself thousands of Euros as well as much stress.    But I have also explained this in articles in the Press and on the radio spots I have with REM.FM and other stations, and if I seem a little terse here, it is because I am upset (not with you, of course) that someone has now had to suffer for their ignorance.  But as one of the British Consuls said to me three years ago, you cannot hold the hands of those who are too silly to be bothered.  (He put it another cruder way.)

 The facts again are:


  • If you have a current EU driving license (DL), preferably with the "ring of stars" on it (the multilingual one), it is legal anywhere in the EU, for not only visiting but for residence as well.  The older UK-DL is legal but should have an official translation into Spanish

  • However, in the case of residence, the laws of that country, I.e. Spain in this instance, that affect all drivers, I.e. Spanish drivers here, also apply to you.

  • This is explained in detail in English in my book, and in Spanish briefly in the copy of the letter sent out in early 2005 to the British Consulate in Malaga (the same was sent to all Consulates) explaining that the Spanish Government lost a Court case in September 2004, and now had to obey the EU Directive on the matter where any EU-DL was legal anywhere in the EU..  Prior to this, the Spanish government insisted that all expats. from anywhere within the EUmust change their driving licences for a Spanish one and that is why I have one.

  • The letter is at (click)

  • Paragraph 3 clearly states though that the medicals that Spanish drivers must take must also be taken by resident foreign DL holders for the DL not to expire regardless of any date on the DL stating the expiry date (German DLs are for life), and even mentions the different periods for ages and types such as vocational as it is known in the UK, HGVs and buses etc, where they are valid for only three years at a time in Spain.  It is explained in my book in detail as are all the laws that affect us expats.

Theinsurance companies employ lawyers who are supposed to know all the relevant laws in Spain so if they are ignorant of the laws, perhaps they need a "talking to"?  And it would also appear that the insurance brokers who deal with expats should buy a copy of my book, so they are not ignorant of the laws as well.  I did try to organise selling the book through several insurance brokers, one a major chain that has been in business for over 25 years but it would appear that they could not be bothered to help their clients, although it meant they also made a profit as well. 

You mention Trafico being too over-worked with "the volume".  I think you may be mistaken about that as I believe it refers to the registering of foreign EU-DLs at Trafico.  On that matter, you do NOT legally have to do this but there are benefits which are explained in my book, the THIRD EDITION of which is being received from the printer before the end of November.  However, the Third Edition is 72 pages or 33% more, and is priced at €21, 95 which allowing also for the increased costs in printing and transportation is a very fair price, especially when the fact that it is supported with regular updates in my web-site at is considered.   

Again thanks for the mail.


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