Article 18 Other driver obligations

by Mark Nolan

1. The driver must ensure that they have sufficient freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving in order to guarantee the safety of themselves, all other occupants of the vehicles and other road users. For this reason the driver must take special care to maintain the proper driving position and ensure that all passengers, animals and any cargo in the vehicle are positioned so as not to interfere with the driver. The use of devices such as screens with internet access, television monitors, video and DVD players by the driver whilst the vehicle is moving is considered incompatible with the mandatory permanent attention required by the driver. An exception to this includes GPS devices and cameras whose use is necessary for rear view manoeuvring or the ascent and descent of passengers.


Drivers must be able to control their vehicles at all times; This is the rule that applies to those drivers who drive barefoot, in flip flops or with any other type of footwear, and have an accident because they do not use proper footwear. As a general rule, the law does not specifically prohibit you from driving barefoot, or with flip flops, but remember that if you have an accident and were maybe unable to use the vehicle’s pedals correctly, you can be penalised.

Drive as you feel comfortable; choose the shoes you want, as long as you do it safely and they allow you to use the pedals of the vehicle correctly.


maintain your own freedom of movement; you cannot manipulate, hold or touch anything other than the vehicle’s controls and the gear lever. Remember that if you have an injury and they bandage or cast a joint that limits your mobility, you will not be able to drive.

the necessary field of vision; Adhesives on the front part of large dimensions are completely prohibited or the placement of any object that may reduce visibility to the driver.

permanent attention to driving; You should not take your eyes off the road, because during those seconds when we are looking at other things, any incident on the road could happen. (A Child running into the road to catch a ball …)

An excessive volume of music that isolates the driver from any sound coming from outside, is also considered a distraction.

maintain the proper position; the hand outside the window. Hands should be holding the steering wheel.

maintain the correct position other occupants; leaning the body out of the window or when a front-seated passenger puts their feet on the dashboard are the most common infractions.

placement of objects; No objects can be transported inside the passenger compartment that could project out and cause any damage to the occupants. If this is not possible, they should be transported in the boot or the roof rack.

animal placement; animals must be restrained or separated from the front part. There are different ways to transport animals; box, straps, etc … consult an animal shop for an approved system according to the size of your animal.

The use, by the driver of a moving vehicle, of devices such as screens with internet access, television monitors and video or DVD players is considered incompatible with the mandatory permanent attention to driving. For this purpose, the use of monitors that are in view of the driver and whose use is necessary for the vision of access or descent of pedestrians or for vision in vehicles with rear maneuvering camera, as well as the GPS device are excepted.

No type of videos can be projected in the front seats that could distract the driver, having a GPS is allowed as a GPS. Devices can be used in the rear seats as a video player.

2. It is forbidden for the driver to use earphones or headphones connected to receiving devices or sound players whilst driving, except during the teaching and performance of the open circuit aptitude test to obtain the two wheeled motorcycle driving licence as required in the General Driving Regulations.

Businessman Driving and Talking on Phone 2002

One-piece headphones are also prohibited as it has been proven that their use reduces the driver’s hearing. So in the case of an emergency the driver could not hear the emergency sirens or a mother´s cry because her son has been running after a ball to the road.

Headphones that are integrated in the vehicle or in the helmet of a motorcycle are legal as they mix with the ambient sound, allowing you to be aware of everything that happens around you.

The use, during driving, of mobile telephony devices and any other means or communication system is prohibited, except when the communication takes place without using hands or wearing helmets, headphones or similar instruments (article 11.3, second paragraph, of the articulated text).

Not only is it prohibited to speak but also to pick up a mobile phone to read or write a message.

It is a mistake also to hold and pick up the phone to read or write a message standing at a traffic light. A vehicle with the engine running in a road is considered driving by the Road Safety Act, even if the vehicle is stopped, so you should be aware of the traffic and only when you are parked or stopped in a safe and legal place is it acceptable to pick up the phone. When sat in a car park for example, you can make use of the mobile phone.

Officers and agents of law enforcement are exempt when carrying out their duties.

3. It is prohibited to install mechanisms or systems in vehicles, to carry instruments, or to alter instruments, to be used to evade detection by traffic police, or to emit signals or to make signals for the same purpose, as well as the use of mechanisms for the detection of radar.

Any type of system that detects the presence of radars is illegal and will result in the immobilisation of the vehicle. The apps available on mobile phones that warn you of possible fixed radars are legal, since they do not detect them; they just have in their memory the points where there could be radars or not. 

Regarding the apps available on mobile phones, it is in our hands to make good use of them. Warning other drivers of the presence of traffic officers and controls only benefits those who are not driving within the law. With this type of action we are helping those drivers who have been drinking, who are driving under the influence of some substance, who have been deprived of their driving licence or who do not have a licence, who do not have insurance, an expired ITV or some other type of infraction. If you drive according to the law you have nothing to fear; the traffic officers are there to help you and remove from the highway those who could create a risk for road safety.  Please do not publicise their location.

Regarding systems aimed at avoiding the surveillance of traffic agents: some motorcycle drivers leave a padlock or a handkerchief tied to the back in such a way that makes it difficult to read the licence plate if it is detected by radar, which is why they face a penalty for a serious infringement. Hiding or hindering the reading of at least one number or letter of the licence plate is punishable since it means that the vehicle cannot be identified correctly.

These types of infractions will be considered as serious.

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