Checking Your Details at the Roadside
As they go about their duties patrolling the roads of Spain, the Guardia Civil traffic police have a whole range of tools in their arsenal to both help those in need, and of course deal with those drivers who break the law.
One piece of kit carried by all of the officers, often stored in the panniers of their motorbikes, or inside the patrol cars, is their Personal Digital Assistant, or PDA.
The device is linked via Bluetooth to a thermal printer, and so able to issue fines on the spot, and pools its data with the central office of the DGT traffic department. The PDA can be used to check driver and vehicle details, such as if you are actually qualified to drive, if you´ve been banned, if you own the vehicle you are driving, and details about that vehicle and its insurance. The whole process of checking the information is almost instantaneous, but it can take a lot longer if the information provided by the driver is either inaccurate, or unknown.
One particular problem facing foreign drivers is when they are not registered as residents in Spain, or have not transferred their license to a Spanish one. For those who have, you are likely to be sent on your way a lot quicker than those with no registered details, as a single check of a drivers NIE number links all of the relevant driver and vehicle details together, and so the officers can almost instantly find the information they are looking to confirm.
However, when the information is not linked, such as for drivers who haven´t swapped to a Spanish license, then the process takes a lot longer to complete, and your journey is likely to be increasingly delayed as a result.
Converting your UK license to a Spanish version is a relatively easy process. It can be done at your local DGT trafico office, or you can hire one of the many specialist advisors who will complete the administrative process on your behalf, and a simple medical and computerised reaction test is all that is keeping you from joining the many residents who have already converted and enjoy an easier life on the roads.
There is more information on the process available at our website, n332.es, as well as links to find your local tráfico office and the information required to complete the process.