British expats in Spain banned from driving after post-Brexit licence blunder

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As of today, tens of thousands of British citizens are unable to drive cars in Spain after the two Governments failed to come to an agreement over drivers licences. But the change does not apply to holidaymakers, who can still use their UK driving licence.

The post-Brexit time limit of April 30 came and went without agreement and the UK Government blamed their Spanish counterparts for the chaos.

Up until this point, Britons were able to use their normal DVLA-issued licences to drive in Spain.

Every other country in the European Union has been able to strike an agreement.

Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith criticised the Spanish authorities, saying: “It’s a case of “Manana, manana [tomorrow, tomorrow]”.

“It’s time they pull their finger out and do what they agreed.”

A UK Government source said: “This could go on for a week or it could be longer.

“It should be temporary but we don’t know how temporary.

“In the meantime, British residents living in Spanish hill villages won’t be able to drive a car.”

A Foreign Office spokesman added: “An agreement to swap UK driving licences for Spanish licences has not yet been reached.

“From May 1, UK licence holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their licence during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks and are urging the Spanish Government to bring forward interim measures.”

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Expats in Spain will have to get Spanish driving licences in the meantime.

Malaga-based Sam Britton-Beese told the Mail: “It’s ridiculous. Our application for residency was still in process before the deadline so we couldn’t register to exchange.”

Linda Rogers, originally from Coventry, said: “Our house is in the mountains and nothing is close by – I’ve tried to get into a driving school but nothing is available.”

The news comes as it was confirmed from July 6, 2022, all new cars sold in Europe will be fitted with a speed limiter as a legal requirement.

It had previously been assumed that the UK would also adopt the law as the Government has retained most EU laws for new cars.

Despite Brexit, the Department for Transport said no decisions had yet been made on which safety regulations would be introduced in the UK.

Richard Gladman, Head of Driving and Riding Standards at IAM RoadSmart, praised speed limiting technology for the reminder it gives drivers to abide by the law.

Speaking exclusively to, he said: “Speed limit assist is an interesting thing to me because we should be making an effort to stick to the speed limit.

“We don’t have to like what the speed limit is, we just have to accept that it’s there.

“They do still exist with fuzzy logic. They do allow you to exceed the speed limit, they just tell you about it.

“If ever you needed to exceed the speed limit for safety, and there are situations where you would need to, it just means you’ve got to work a bit harder for it.

“The speed limit assist gives you a little wake up call and helps you avoid 12 points on your licence.

“If we were talking about a hard geo-fenced limit, where it says you physically cannot go above 30mph, then I would be up in arms about it.”

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