Teaching Your Children to Drive: Is It Legal?

September 26, 2019
Can parents teach their children to drive and not suffer any sanctions? As we'll see here, this situation is not protected by our regulations and there may be legal consequences. 

Many parents think that teaching their children to drive is a great idea. They can do it at their own pace, help them practice on their own, and save some money since they won’t need many classes.

This usually happens before the children sign up for driving school or when they’re preparing for the exam to obtain the license. This is what is known as accompanied driving; the driver doesn’t have a driving license and does so under the responsibility and supervision of a driver with experience.

Nonetheless, is it legal to teach your children to drive? The answer is no. Whoever does it is committing a criminal offense against road safety; it’s a crime and it has consequences. Up next, we’ll review some facts to know what the law says about this situation and what the sanctions are.

What does the law say about teaching a child to drive?

When parents teach their children to drive, even in areas without traffic or pedestrians, they’re committing a crime. It’s a crime against road safety according to article 384 of the Criminal Code.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Police officer or a Civil Guard agent who surprises a parent and child in that situation. An accusation can be launched against them and that will result in the corresponding actions.

If there’s been no incident or damage of any kind, the punishment will be to go behind the wheel of a car without the corresponding driver’s license.

Teaching Your Children to Drive: Is It Legal?

Who is sanctioned?

When parents teach their children to drive and a member of the Police or Civil Guard stops them, both of them will be implicated in the crime. This means that the child was committing a misdemeanor by driving without a permit.

Likewise, the parent is also guilty of being the person providing the vehicle. The presence of a parent encourages the child to drive without being legally able to do so. If it’s someone else, not a parent, that’s teaching the child to drive, the situation is the same.

Sanctions for driving without a permit in Spain

In such scenarios, the penalty is usually considerable. The Criminal Code punishes those who drive without a license according to the magnitude of the offense. The punishment can range from a prison sentence of three to six months, a daily fine for a period of 12 to 24 months, or community service for 30 to 90 days.

Offenders are almost always punished with a combination of the last two penalties we’ve seen. If the driver is a minor, the financial penalty applies to the child’s legal guardian.

The prison sentence is reserved for serious cases in which a grave accident occurred. It can also be applied when the driver and teacher, in this case, parent and child, have an aggressive behavior towards the agents who stopped them.

Teaching Your Children to Drive: Is It Legal?

Why teaching your children to drive isn’t a good idea

In addition to being a crime that can result in significant penalties, you should also consider the fact that teaching your children to drive may not be such a good idea for other reasons as well. In fact, to teach another person to drive, it’s necessary to have the corresponding certification. Being a teacher in a driving school is not easy.

The teaching vehicle must also be adequate. Double pedals are necessary so that the teacher can control the car or correct any possible dangerous actions that the apprentice makes. Additionally, the practice car must be easily identifiable by other drivers. 

Without all these precautions, practicing how to drive can be dangerous and you can end up in an accident; even if it’s done in private areas or places with little traffic. It’s perilous to take unnecessary risks. Moreover, in the event of an accident, the insurance won’t be responsible for the damages.

Lastly, when you teach your children to drive, you can pass on certain vices that are difficult to eliminate afterward. For example, you can get used to leaving your hand on the gearshift or putting your hands on the steering wheel improperly. These bad habits not only threaten the safety of the driver, but can also be a reason to fail the exam.