Tomtom use in Spain ?

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23 Oct 2008 12:00 AM by Daveline Star rating in Lancashire & Orihuel.... 44 posts Send private message

My Brother in Law, who is currently at our apartment, was stopped today by the Spanish Police and told you cannot use a TomTom or similar GPS based device in Spain .

This is a new one on me can anyone advise?



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23 Oct 2008 7:54 PM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2585 posts Send private message

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I must confess that I use mine all the time in Spain. I have driven past many Police who haven't batted an eyelid and I have seen other Spanish registered cars with them on the dashboard. I know some countries can be a bit funny about you using radar detecting devices to avoid speed traps, but GPS? As in other counties, I would expect that so long as your line of sight in not interfered with by the placement of the unit it would be okay, so clarification would be appreciated by anyone in the know.


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23 Oct 2008 9:35 PM by randolph Star rating. 167 posts Send private message


It can't be the against the law  to have any gps system can it? ?? So many cars have them built in -to the dashboard.!

I love my Tom Tom. I would be lost wihout him..... literally.  He's always polite, no matter how many times he is  forced to repeat himself....and never swears at my navigation faults.

AND....when punched - he never answers back


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23 Oct 2008 9:52 PM by conrad Star rating in Milton Keynes and Dr.... 298 posts Send private message

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It is not against the law to use a tom tom in spain what is against the law though is if the positioning of the device is obstructing a clear view of the road best advice is to place the device as near to the dashboard as possible and usually to the right of the steering wheel(if uk car)

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24 Oct 2008 10:01 AM by musicdonna Star rating in Near Huercal-Overa, .... 250 posts Send private message

We've got a Garmin (called Gertie!!).  We've never been stopped, quiestioned or had any other hassle.  If in doubt, ask at your local ayuntamiento (town hall).  We'd be lost without her.  It .  Donna


Donna (site for artists of all levels!)

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24 Oct 2008 12:17 PM by whistler Star rating. 76 posts Send private message

Don't know about a car but on a motorcycle it is ilegal.......not the device itself, but using the earphone to hear directions.......this law also applies to listening to music etc in the car with earphones..........

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24 Oct 2008 1:37 PM by Tamsin Star rating. 169 posts Send private message

There was no way we could have found our hotel when we visited Granada last week without the Sat Nav and for once my husband and I got there without any arguments. If they are illegal then why are they sold in Spain?   We call her Sally and she was great at keeping my husband to the speed limit.  Our hired  car even showed the best place to  position her.

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11 Mar 2011 12:11 AM by spanlinda Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

We are leaving for Spain in a couple of weeks for a 5 week road trip and I have researched this with Spanish authorities, travel agents and on line.  GPS devices ARE illegal in Spain for cars and motorcycles if they are mounted.  Too many accidents while people were looking at them.  However hand held are ok if you have a passenger in the car using it.  Also the speed limits have just been lowered due to gas shortages and current prices.  This happened last week (last week in Febuary).


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11 Mar 2011 9:47 AM by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

never heard such rubbish.

I use satnav the whole time (window stick up) and so does many other cars and as another poster said on many cars the come pre-installed on dashborad.

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11 Mar 2011 10:20 AM by Jimbofinn Star rating in Chiclana De La Front.... 213 posts Send private message

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Perhaps its not so much as having them (as with mobile phones) but actually using them whilst driving - i.e plotting a new route?


This message was last edited by Jimbofinn on 11/03/2011.


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11 Mar 2011 10:49 AM by claire T Star rating in Torremendo, Orihuela. 689 posts Send private message

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I got a letter from Traffico a while back with a list of things you couldn't do while driving and it said you are not allowed to ADJUST your Sat Nav whilst driving.  Using it is perfectly legal.

As an estate agent I am always trying to find new addresses and my dear TomTom does come in very handy.  The only problem for my area is that half the roads are not listed!


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11 Mar 2011 11:14 AM by spanlinda Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

I am not allowed to post links, but look up "Use of GPS illegal in Spain" and you will get a; sorts of articles.  One even lists the specific CODE of the violation. The date of the legislation was June 2009.   It is because many (most GPS) track radar locations. 

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11 Mar 2011 11:21 AM by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

correct - you are not allowed to use radar jammers but the police know exactly the type of car/driver with those fitted and where to look to find them on those cars.

But GPS is fine stuck on the window but as Claire T says they don't always work in Spain. It would be great if all the urbanisation were listed whatever about the campo. I've been lost a few times in the campo and very lucky to get out!!

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11 Mar 2011 1:09 PM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

A thought just occurred to me . What about cars that have detectors & jammers built -in ?  


Todos somos Lorca.

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11 Mar 2011 1:33 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

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 I think you'll find its those satnavs stuck in the window that obscures (or deflects) the driver's view.  Dashboard mounted are OK, as are ones that aren't directly in line of sight for the driver.  Let's face it, it is a bit like looking at a TV when you're driving the way some people have them fixed.

I stick mine in the cup holder bit directly in front of the gear stick or SWMBO holds it.  As long as you can hear it I can't see the problem.  The way some people stare at them and have them directly in front of the steering wheel are, IMHO, as dangerous if not more so than using a mobile phone when driving.

Those that warn you of FIXED speed cameras are OK in UK because their locations are built into the program but jammers and mobile detectors are not because they send out a radio signal which is against EMER regulations due to the frequency being used.  I have been told that the ones that warn you of fixed cameras in Spain are illegal but not sure of that as you can download maps on the internet which tell you where they are.



This message was last edited by bobaol on 11/03/2011.

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11 Mar 2011 4:20 PM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2585 posts Send private message

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 I download a speed camera databse to my Tom TOm evey week for the UK and whenever I am out in Spaijn. It doesn't detect cameras, merely reports them as a Point of Interest as you can have airports, train stations, banks, etc). All the cameras are reported by users as being in place and verified, not just relying on the say so of one person. Nothing illegal about that .


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11 Mar 2011 4:37 PM by TechNoApe Star rating in Duquesa, Manilva. 1278 posts Send private message

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As ClaireT said:

"you are not allowed to ADJUST your Sat Nav whilst driving."

The Driver is not allowed to adjust the Sat Nav whilst driving, however the passenger can!

A good idea is to mount the Sat Nav in the middle of the windscreen at dash level, where the dash meets the windscreen.

That way, both the driver and front passenger can see the device and the passenger can alter the settings, also it's not distracting the drivers view of the road, and the driver can use it in the same way they use the rear view mirror - just a quick glance.

In all honesty, you should familiarise yourself with the full route, and only listen to the directions being given from the Sat Nav or the front passenger - just like a Rally Car Driver does!

As for their use in Spain, generally they are good, but I find the Navman is better one for Spain.

We used our Navman as a 'backup guide' all the way from Santander to Duquesa back in 2008, and apart from the fact it wanted to take us through Burgos (during December - yeah! right) it was very accurate.

NOTE: Back seat drivers are now obsolete!

This message was last edited by TechNoApe on 11/03/2011.


Me, the Mrs and Rosie too! But we'll never, ever forget our Tyler!

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11 Mar 2011 5:49 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

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 I use a Garmin Nuvi.  Only thing I got as a leaving present when I retired.  I'd asked for a Tomtom but one of the bosses took pity and bought me the £350 one with all the bells and whistles.  Haven't used it that much as I'm still a "follow the roadsigns" type person but it has come in handy for finding streets in town in Spain.  I'm going to use it in June when I go over by ferry from either Santander or Calais (haven't made my mind up which way to go, yet) so it should get a good workout then.  It was also good for finding IKEA in Murcia as that stupid roundabout when you get to it has so many slip roads and junctions that you have to count the turnings (take the eighth turning to the right, I think it said).  The lady speaking to me gets a bit irate if I either take the wrong turn or miss the exit.  Might change it to the man's voice!

Ain't technology great?




This message was last edited by bobaol on 11/03/2011.

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10 Jan 2013 9:04 AM by Richardsonl Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

I am planning on buying a Tom Tom to use whilst in Spain.   Can anyone please advise on the best make to purchase and do these come with the ability to use in Spain.  Never bought one before and have no idea where to start.  Thanks a lot. 


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10 Jan 2013 9:17 AM by tamaraessex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

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 I have two - which sounds a bit flash, except that I just bought a new car in Spain and made them give me a TomTom as a gift!  That one is a TomTom XL2 and is very good.  My old one (less than a year old) was bought in the UK and is the TomTom Smart 20, also excellent, and slightly easier to programme.  Both cover the whole of Europe.

The main difference between them goes to the point of the original question in this thread when it started many years ago!  The one made for the Spanish market does NOT have a setting to warn you about speed traps, as it is illegal to have that setting enabled in Spain.  the UK-bought one does have speed trap warnings, but these can be disactivated, and MUST be for driving in Spain.

I suspect that whjat the original poster is reporting isn't quite accurate - the police will not have said that it is illegal to use a TomTom in Spain, but they can grab it from you and check the speedtrap settings, and if it is activated you can be fined.  Always have it set to deactivated, and say to them "Es desactivado" if stopped.

Anyway, I would have thought any modern TomTom will be just fine.  The newer one came with a circular fitting that attaches to the windscreen and is meant to stay there, and you just clip the GPS onto it.  I don't like that, as it is a giveaway there is a GPS in the car!  Mind you, they've come down in price so much i doubt a car would be broken into just for a GPS any more.

Hope that helps!


 Blog about settling into a village house in the Axarquía.

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