Can you use your home driving licence in Ecuador?
YES. Article 10 states that foreign visitors can drive vehicles in Ecuador using a licence emitted in their country for the duration of their tourist visa. However foreigners who are resident in Ecuador should present their driving licence to receive a Ecuadorian licence, valid for the same type of vehicles.
What do I do if I buy a new car?
Article 101 states that the car concessionaire should hand over the car already registered to drive in Ecuador. The registration document (la matricula) should have your name and the vehicle details on it.
How are infractions divided?
Article 107 divides infractions into crimes and contraventions. Article 108 notes that those responsible for an infraction may be obliged to pay for costs and damages incurred under civil law. A transit crime will be immediately considered under public law.
Article 113 notes that help or assistance, or even payment given to victims after an infraction does not imply a presumption of guilt.
Article 115 states that if a vehicle is abandoned after an accident and the driver is unknown, the owner of the vehicle will be considered responsible for any civil damage
What happens if I break the law?
Article 97 establishes a regime for Ecuadorian driving licences. You start with 30 points and during the 5 years that the licence is active, points may be deducted for various infractions as follows.
Contravenciones leves de primera clase (first class minor contraventions) > 1,5
Contravenciones leves de segunda clase (second class minor contraventions) > 3
Contravenciones leves de tercera clase (third class minor contraventions) > 4.5
Contravenciones graves de primera clase (first class major contraventions) > 6
Contravenciones graves de segunda clase (second class major contraventions) > 7.5
Contravenciones graves de tercera clase (third class major contraventions) > 9
Contravención muy grave (very serious contravention) > 10
Delitos (crimes) 11 – 30
If you lose your 30 points, the licence is suspended for 60 days and you have to take all the tests again to get it back, this time with 20 points.
You can download a summary of the traffic crimes and contraventions here.