Our colleagues from the N332 Facebook page, serving officers form the Guardia Civil, received a question recently which they would like us to expand on.
Several years ago I suffered from heart failure and my driving licence (UK) was withdrawn. I have since made a full recovery and now I am living in Spain permanently. I know there are small cars which can be driven without a licence.
What are the requirements for being allowed to drive these cars? Do I need a medical examination/certificate? Do I need to take any form of Spanish driving test? (I held a full UK licence from Feb 1967 to 2000 and I am 75 years old).
Francisco Morales from the Guardia Civil Trafico in Torrevieja explained that the question revolved around so-called “Microcars”. In Spain we say that you can drive these vehicles without a licence because you don´t need to have a Category B licence, which is for cars. However, to say you don´t need any licence is not true, because you must have a Category AM licence, which is the category you need to be qualified in to ride a moped. Because this type of vehicle uses a very small engine, they are classed as mopeds and can even be driven for teenagers, so long as they have the Category AM licence. It is important to note however that these vehicles must be driven on the hard shoulder where there is one, or as far to the right as possible where a hard shoulder doesn´t exist, and they are not permitted on motorways.
You must also ensure that the vehicle itself is registered and insured. It must have a logbook, ITV (if applicable) and all other requirements for driving on the road as if it were a car.
Obtaining a Category AM licence is relatively easy, all you have to do is contact your nearest driving school and they will give you all the information you need, including the requirements for a medical report. You may also have to provide details as to why your previous licence expired.
As a reminder though, in answer to the point about not needing a licence, you should now see that you do in fact need one. If you drive any vehicle without a licence, you are breaking the law. Similarly, if you don´t have your licence with you when you are driving it can only be assumed that you are driving without a licence until it can be proven otherwise. The reason this is important to highlight is that driving without a licence is covered by the penal code, it is a criminal offence, and as such you will be arrested until you can prove that you are in fact qualified to drive. So, it is a good thing the question was asked, because if you did drive a microcar without a licence, you could well have ended up behind bars.
This article first appeared in issue 2 of the N332 RoadWatch magazine…