From the end of April the Road Traffic Act in Germany will be amended leading to changes in traffic offences. These amendments will become law on April 28th 2020. For motorists in Germany it is crucial to be aware of this new piece of legislation as these traffic offences will have a big impact. This piece of legislation will amend aspects of the German Road Traffic Act (“Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung” or in its shortened form: “StVO”) such as fines for parking offences, the excess speed by which one can face a driving ban, sanctions for not forming a “rescue lane” and more.

In this article we will outline what exactly is in this amendment to the road traffic act. Should you find yourself in need of more information concerning driving and traffic offences in Germany please use our page “Driving Offences and DUIs in Germany“. Furthermore, we have also written about the issue of “DUIs, the Law and E-Scooters“. If you are in need of more personalised assistance due to the new driving law or due to other issues around driving and traffic offences then make sure to contact us using the contact form below. Our lawyers look forward to working with you.


New Limits for Speeding and Increased Penalties

The amendment to the legislation will arguably be most felt in the area of sanctions for speeding. This amendment will see potential driving disqualification hit when a person exceeds the speed limit by 21 km /h in built-up urban areas. Should one be caught going at this speed they can also expect a fine of €80 and two penalty points. When outside urban areas this level of penalty (one month driving disqualification) can be expected when a person exceeds the speed limit by 26 km /h, however, in this instance the fine will be closer to €95.

Should one be caught speeding by 16 km/h or more they can expect to be penalised by one penalty point and fines ranging between €60-€70 depending on whether the incident was outside or within a built-up area.

Prior to these changes the potential driving disqualification only came into play when one exceeded the speed limit by over 30 km/h in built-up areas and by over 40 km/h outside of built-up areas. Therefore, it is crucial that these changes brought by this amendment are taken into consideration by all motorists around Germany.


 

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Traffic Offences: Changes to Parking Fines

Parking fines have been a staple of German traffic offences for a long time, however, the amendment to the current legislation will also impact this area of driving. Here is a list of fines one can now expect to receive for these traffic offences:

  • Parking car in “blind spot” (corners of streets and other inappropriate areas): a fine of €35.
  • Parking car in a fire brigade access road: fine of €55.
  • Obstruction of emergency or rescue vehicle: fine of €100 and one penalty point.
  • Unauthorised parking in a parking space for disabled persons: fine of up to €55.
  • Parking in the second row / double-parking: fine of up to €55.
  • Unauthorised parking in spaces intended for e-cars or car-sharing vehicles: fine of up to €55.

As can be seen here there are many traffic offences relating to parking which one has to be aware of according the Road Traffic Act. These offences have not changed drastically with the introduction of the new amendment however; the sanctions have risen. Some of the fines have more than doubled so one should make themselves aware of these changes.


Traffic Offences: Not making an “Emergency Corridor” / “Rescue Lane”

Not making a “rescue lane” or “emergency corridor” in traffic to allow for emergency vehicles to make their way through is already an offence under German traffic law, however, the new amendment will make some noteworthy changes which one should be aware of. Not making an emergency corridor in traffic can result in fines ranging from €200 to €320 depending on the facts of the case. These fines for the offence were in place for when the failure to create this emergency corridor resulted in an obstruction or endangerment to third parties. This action could also result in a one-month driving ban as well as two penalty points.

However, the amendment allows for penalties such as these to be in pace without there being a concrete danger or obstruction. Mere failure to create the emergency corridor can now result in a one month driving ban.

The failure to make an emergency corridor is a serious offence in German law. Above listed are just some of the sanctions linked to it. However, in more serious cases it can be considered as a criminal offence resulting in imprisonment. This is regulated under § 323c German Criminal Code / StGB which states:

(1) Whoever does not render assistance in the case of an accident or a common danger or emergency although it is necessary and can reasonably be expected under the circumstances… incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine.

(2) Whoever obstructs a person who is rendering or wishes to render assistance to another person in such a situation incurs the same penalty.

This is not the only offence linked to the emergency corridor during an accident. It is also stated that drivers who use this emergency corridor illegally will face fines of €240 and may also face a driving ban as well as two penalty points.


Traffic Offences: How will this Amendment affect Cyclists?

This amendment to the Road Traffic Act will be of benefit to cyclists in Germany. There will now be stricter implementation of fines for those who park their cars on cycle paths while heavy vans and trucks (weighing more than 3.5 tonnes) will have to slow down while making turns in urban areas. This move is with the pedestrian and cyclist in mind. Should these turns be made at too fast a speed the driver can face a fine of €70 and one penalty point.

Further points of interest for cyclists include:

  • Drivers must keep a distance of 1.5m between themselves and other road users when overtaking in urban and other built-up areas. In non-built-up areas (rural areas) the distance should be 2m.
  • Cyclists may cycle next to each other where they are not obstructing traffic.

Traffic Offences: “Blitzer Apps” / Speed Camera Apps

The amendment to the Road Traffic Act will also look to clamp down on the use of “Blitzer apps” / speed camera apps. These applications can identify the locations of speed cameras in order to inform the user of when they need to slow down in advance of the cameras. Such applications can warn their user of these cameras by acoustic and / or optical signals. These apps have reduced the usefulness of speed cameras around Germany. The use of these apps will not be permitted in accordance with § 23 (1) StVO / Road Traffic Act . Therefore, having the app on your phone is not an offence but if you are found to have used it a fine of €75 and one penalty point can be expected.


Traffic Law Assistance in Germany

At Schlun & Elseven Attorneys our legal team provide clients with the representation and support they need when it comes to the German legal system. We work with clients from all over the world and provide our services in English as well as German. From our offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf we advise clients on a broad range of issues as can be expected from a comprehensive full-service law firm. With conference rooms in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, as well as video conferencing facilities, we advise our clients all over Germany.

If you require a German lawyer in the area of traffic offences then make sure to get in contact with us directly. Once we start on your case we can move from the theoretical legal knowledge into the more specialised assistance and apply the law to the individual characteristics of your situation. Contact us today for more information.

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