General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) chairman Gregorio Serrano says pupils will be obliged to attend classes at a recognised driving academy before applying for their theory tests, since a high number decide to study the exam themselves online and fail, meaning test centres are frequently overstretched.
As well as not allowing candidates to apply for their test until they are considered sufficiently prepared, the new law will require them to watch videos of ‘problems’ that may arise whilst driving and write an essay proposing how to handle them.
Other new material in theory classes will include night driving, and practical lessons and tests will involve a GPS sat-nav system giving directions instead of the examiner instructing the candidate on where to turn and stop.
The additions to the theory test mean it will move away from the typical multiple choice format and lean more towards a written exam.
Finally, pupils will be required to take an ‘awareness course’ before putting in for either their theory or practical tests, where they will learn about risks they may face at the wheel and the consequences of dangerous and illegal behaviour such as speeding, mobile phone use and alcohol.
Serrano says ITV tests, the compulsory vehicle inspections equivalent to an MOT, will tighten up and the requirements for banned drivers wanting to get their licences back made stiffer.
In Spain, a ban is not automatically lifted after a given period of time – to recover his or her licence, the driver has to take and pass courses.
This is also the case where the driver loses licence points.
Spanish driving licences carry 12 points, rising to 15 after three years of careful motoring, and are deducted for road traffic offences – the opposite system to the UK, where licences start out points-free and these are added for speeding and other illegal motoring behaviours with a total of 12 means an automatic ban.