Road Transport Operations Spain

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. It's continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. It's territory also includes two archipelagos: the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.  

The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay, and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean respectively. Spain has a population of circa 47 million, its capital city is Madrid. 


UK operators may carry loads to, from or through the country. Loads can be carried between other EU third countries by UK operators. Cabotage is permitted. 

Dangerous Goods 

Spain is party to ADR. It is essential that fully completed ADR documentation is prepared for the movement of dangerous goods. 

For further information, visit the UNECE website at the link below & select the country name applicable - 

Vehicles/loads exceeding the weights/dimensions outlined below will require special authorisations, which can be obtained from:

Dangerous Goods Commission Ministerio de Fomento 
Paseo de la Castellana, 67 
E - 28 071 MADRID 
Tel: +34 91 597 75 48 
Fax: +34 91 597 50 27   

Abnormal Loads 

In Spain there are three types of permits for abnormal transports depending on their size, mass and axle load; classified in Generic, Specific and Exceptional authorisations. 

Each request shall contain a limited number of motor vehicles plate numbers and a limited number of trailer or semi-trailer plate numbers technically equivalent to each other and to the carried load. 


Generic Authorisation 

Specific Authorisation 

Exceptional Authorisation 

Length (L) 

(*) < L ≤ 20.55 m 

20.55m < L ≤ 40.00 m 

L > 40.00m 

Width (a) 

(*) < a ≤ 3.00 m 

3.00m < a ≤ 5.00m 

a > 5.00m 

Height (h) 

(*) <h ≤ 4.50 m 

4.00m < h ≤ 4.50 m 

h > 4.50m 

Mass (M) 

(*) < M ≤ 45.00 tm 

45.00 tm < M ≤ 110.00 tm 

M > 110.00 tm 

Axle mass (Meje) 

Meje ≤ RGV y Meje ≤ ITV 

RGV < Meje ≤ ITV 

RGV < Meje ≤ ITV 

  • RGV = General Vehicle Regulations 
  • ITV = ITV card details 
  • (*) = Maximum authorized dimensions and mass, according to Annex IV of the RGV 

In Specific and Exceptional authorisations, the full itinerary of the abnormal transport must be specified in order to obtain permission. Generic authorisations do not need to specify this itinerary. 

The authorisation that is issued, authorises the vehicle to travel on all roads with a number of exceptions (prescriptions) that are specified in pass restrictions (cannot circulate around a kilometre point, stretch of road or highway) and pass reservations (can circulate around a kilometre point, stretch of road or highway but with proper precautions). 

Some special transports require the escort of the Civil Guard officers (police). 


A full tank of fuel can be imported duty-free. 

Movement Restrictions 

There are driving restrictions throughout the road network for goods vehicles of 7.5 tonnes and above on specific sections of the national road network on Sundays and Public holidays. 

Vehicle Documentation 

  • Green Card required, plus original vehicle registration docs.
  • A GB plate must be fitted to the rear of the vehicle/trailer. 

Driver Legal Documents 

  • Full passport required.
  • International driving licence or normal UK Licence.
  • Letter from employer giving driver permission to drive vehicle or attestation letter and form. Where an attestation letter is carried to explain missing tachograph charts or non-use of digital card as a result of the driver being on holiday or off work through sickness, the attestation should be in Spanish. EU Hours rules apply. 

If the UK fully leaves the EU on 31 January 2021, HGV drivers will require travel insurance with healthcare cover 

Safety Equipment 

It is compulsory to carry the following items of equipment and/or observe specific rules:- 

  • First Aid Kit 
  • Hi-Vis jacket must be worn when crew leaving a vehicle in the event of a breakdown 
  • Warning triangle 
  • Spare bulbs 
  • Do not park facing oncoming traffic - it is an offence 
  • Seat belts must be worn 
  • Drivers who wear spectacles or contact lenses must carry a spare pair 

It is advisable to carry snow chains, the use of chains is compulsory on certain roads in mountainous regions. 


TIR Carnets are accepted for vehicles crossing Spain and destined for a non-EU country. ATA Carnets are accepted for certain temporary imports from non-community countries. CMR notes are required and must be fully completed. 

Public Holidays 

The following days are Public (National) holidays in Spain:

  • January 1 - New Year’s Day 
  • January 6 - Epiphany 
  • April 10 - Good Friday 
  • May 01 - Labour Day 
  • August 15 – Assumption Day 
  • October 12 - Hispanic Day  
  • November 01 – All Saints Day  
  • December 06 – Constitution Day 
  • December 08 – Immaculate Conception Day 
  • Friday 25 - Christmas Day 

It should be noted that there are 41 regional holidays in Spain that apply to various areas or towns and cities.  

Road Tolls 

Motorways in Spain come into two categories; the busy to very busy ones which are often toll roads and most of them radiating from Madrid, and along the Mediterranean coast: and the others, most of them carrying only light traffic. Nearly all of these are free.  

Generally speaking, though there are exceptions, Spain's toll motorways which aren known officially as Autopistas, are designated by the letters AP, as in AP8. Spain's free motorways, usually known as Autovias, are generally designated by the letter A, as in A66. 

Around Madrid, the system is different and complex. Madrid is a maze of motorways, with the addition of the A motorways, M motorways (for Madrid) and R motorways (for Radial).  

Motorways M30, M40, M45 and M50 are the main orbital routes around Madrid. M50, the outermost, runs 80% of the way around Madrid, and connects all the main national A motorways, from A1 to A6. The missing section is the northwest, from the A1 to the A6 - for which the A40 should be used. Orbital M motorways are free, the radial R motorways are toll roads. (Source – About Spain.Net) 

Road Toll Operators include the following:

Bridge and Tunnel Tolls 

The two tunnels below are located close to Barcelona and the links provide downloadable toll rates charts.:

Maximum Weights & Dimensions 


4 metres 


2.55 metres (Fridges 2.6 metres) 


Artic 16.5 metres Road Train 18.75 metres 


Artic 40 tonnes (40 foot ISO containers - 44 tonnes) 
Road Train 40 tonnes 
There are also various maximum permitted weights on vehicles, trailers and road trains which are applicable according to the number of axles. 

Speed Limits 

The normal speed limits for HGV vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are as follows:

  • Urban Roads – 50kph 
  • Non-Urban (Single Carriageways) – 70 km/h.  
    • However, roads with no/narrow hard shoulder (<1.5 m) 10 km/h slower than the normal speed limit if carrying dangerous goods  
    • 80 km/h for roads with hard shoulder (>1.5 m) or dual carriageway 10 km/h slower than the normal speed limit if carrying dangerous goods
  • Expressways / Dual Carriageways – 80 km/h 10 km/h slower than the normal speed limit if carrying dangerous goods 
  • Motorways – 80 km/h 10 km/h slower than the normal speed limit if carrying dangerous goods 

Further Reading 

The following links provide guidance and further information, please use the links below. 

British Embassy 

Torre Espacio Paseo de la Castellana 259D 
Tel: +34 917 146 300 

Transport Organisation 

Association of International Road Transport (ASTIC) 
Tel: +34 914 514 801-07