It is quite possible when you were learning to drive that you practised your novice skills with an accompanied driver whilst you held a provisional licence, a common practice to this day in the UK, but in Spain, this sort of experience is currently illegal, as only qualified driving instructors may accompany drivers who have yet to pass their test.

Despite the legalities, it is not uncommon for qualified drivers to this, in isolated places where there is hardly any traffic, but as it it is an illegal action it has important consequences for both the driver and the passenger.

Possible sanctions

According to article 384 of the Criminal Code, “anyone who drives a motor vehicle or moped in cases of loss of validity of the permit or licence due to total loss of the legally assigned points, will be punished with a prison sentence of three to six months or with a fine of twelve to twenty-four months or with work for the benefit of the community from thirty-one to ninety days. The same penalty will be imposed on whoever drives after having been provisionally or definitively deprived of the permit or licence by judicial decision and whoever drives a motor vehicle or moped without ever having obtained a driving permit or licence.

In addition, driving a vehicle without having the corresponding licence entails an administrative sanction of 3,000 euro. However, it must be taken into account that, if the driver is a minor, the consequences are not the same since the fine falls on their parents or legal guardians.

In the most extreme cases, the sanction can mean imprisonment if a serious incident occurs or if the driver and companion are arrested and show aggressive behaviour before the authorities, for example.

Is it possible to drive as a minor?

Keep in mind that being a minor does not mean that you cannot drive any type of vehicle. According to the data handled by the online insurance marketer AMV, there are 57,000 underage drivers who have motorcycles in Spain. According to road safety experts, this is because riding a motorcycle has many advantages from a practical sense (it consumes less, repairs are less expensive and it is easier to park).

Motorcycles (class A1 permit), mopeds up to 50 cc, agricultural vehicles (LVA) and vehicles for people with reduced mobility can be driven by minors. For the rest of motor vehicles, it is essential to be of legal age and have the corresponding driver’s licence.

The future

That said the future will bring changes. We already know that in 2024 the DGT will approve a new class of driving licence, the B1 permit, which will allow those over the age of 16 to drive certain, low-powered, vehicles that resemble cars. We also know that the DGT is looking into allowing qualified drivers to accompany those in training, but this is only a discussion at the moment, and so, for now, the fact remains that this is not allowed.

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