The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) launched the miDGT mobile application in March 2000, coinciding with the confinement due to the Covid pandemic. The success of this tool, which in December 2022 accumulated more than 8.3 million downloads, according to the DGT itself, is mainly due to the possibility of carrying the driver's license in digital format on the mobile.
The new Traffic Law that was approved last year states that the driver's license "may be accredited through its physical or digital presence" to any agent who requests it. Before the reform of the regulations, the DGT recommended that drivers always carry a physical driver's license in case any agent did not have the necessary QR code reader. This was the case of the agents of the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Ertzaintza and the local police, who did not have the necessary technology to do so.
The approval of the new regulatory text leaves no room for doubt and from March 21, 2022 the mobile driver's license has the same validity as the physical card, without the need to carry the traditional document with you. The same is true of the car's administrative documentation, which can be verified using the data included in the Traffic app. Among other functions, the application also allows you to carry out procedures, pay fines or request a vehicle report.
Now, given the possibility of not having your mobile phone available, either because you do not have it with you or because the device has run out of battery, it is best to also carry your physical license when you get behind the wheel. In this way, if we are stopped by a traffic agent, we will avoid being penalized for driving without a license and the procedures will be much faster. It can also happen that there is a reading error when scanning the QR code and that the agent asks us for the card in physical format.
The fine for driving without carrying your license is considered a minor offense and carries a fine of up to 100 euros.
In some situations it is not only advisable to carry the traditional driver's license with you, but it is also mandatory to do so. To drive outside of Spain we must be provided with the license in physical format, since it is the only document recognized by the agents of the other countries.
Previously, before traveling to a foreign country, the DGT indicates that you should find out if your Spanish driving license is valid to drive in the country you are going to or if you need to obtain the International Permit. This document is processed by the General Directorate of Traffic itself and is valid temporarily, for a maximum of one year.
The European Commission is working on the Vision Zero project, which seeks to reduce deaths from traffic accidents in Europe to zero by 2050. The program includes various changes to driving licenses at the European level. One of the points with the greatest impact is related to the adoption of a digital driving license valid for all of Europe.
If the Brussels proposal prospers, community citizens will be able to prove to the agents of any member country their status as drivers by means of the digital document that they will have downloaded to their mobile phone. The adoption of a joint digital document to move throughout Europe is not something new, since there is the precedent of the Covid Certificate when mobility restrictions were implemented due to the pandemic.