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Germany revs up traffic violations system
Photo: DPA

Germany revs up traffic violations system

Published: 28 Feb 2012 16:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Feb 2012 16:33 GMT+01:00

German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer on Tuesday unveiled a new system of traffic violation points which could mean 10 percent more drivers lose their licences in the land of the high-speed autobahn each year.

Careless drivers in Germany will still rack up points in Flensburg – the northern city where the country’s traffic authority is located. But they could now lose their licences more quickly after changes to how road violation points are calculated.

Offences will now only carry penalties of one or two points rather than up to seven. But it will only take eight points rather than the previous 18 to have your driving licence revoked.

“We want to make the system simpler, fairer and more transparent,” said Ramsauer at a press conference in Berlin.

The minister presented his pet project with a giant “Point Tachometer” designed to grant motorists a visual representation of how close just a few points can bring them to losing their licences.

While one to three points is still in the green, four to five revs the needle up into yellow and gets you a warning from Flensburg. Six to seven hits red and triggers an invitation to an obligatory driving seminar. Anything over eight points pushes the tachometer into black and you can start buying bus tickets.

Scheduled to take effect in 2013, the reform would also remove the chances for drivers to reduce their violation points by taking remedial classes.

“There shouldn’t be a point rebate for traffic hooligans,” Ramsauer said.

The Transport Ministry estimates the changes will boost the number people losing their licences each year by 10 percent. But registered traffic offences will be limited to dangerous driving – so other things such as not having the right sticker for an urban environmental zone will no longer earn you a point.

And though it will take longer for points to be erased in Flensburg – drink driving points will last 10 instead of five years – each violation will have its own expiration date. Anyone currently with points on the record will have their offences automatically converted to the new system.

“There will be no general amnesty,” said Ramsauer, who must now work up draft legislation for parliament’s consideration.

The German motorist group ADAC has welcomed the reforms as long overdue, but a police union dismissed it as “political shadowboxing.”

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:21 February 28, 2012 by carlm
"Political shadowboxing." Don't know anything about the details of this new move, but I suspect it's another clown trying to make "points" for himself by taking away more money and freedom from the citizens. I wish him the worst.
18:50 February 28, 2012 by Englishted
¦quot;We want to make the system simpler, fairer and more transparent,¦quot; said Ramsauer at a press conference in Berlin.

Translated as "we want to make more money " in fines.
19:34 February 28, 2012 by bjerkebek
how about a national speed limit, defensive driving lessons and some traffic cops to write tickets. this country has the worse, most aggressive, melodramatic drivers in the world. the motorcycle drivers literally have a death wish.
07:52 February 29, 2012 by DrWho
A national speed limit isn't needed. I'm thinking some of the comments above are from people who like driving in the left lane most of the time, and who think that putting their turn signal on automatically means they have clearance to change lanes.

There are too many 120km or less already posted for "traffic management" or other reasons. Shadow National Speed Limits is what I call them.
09:18 February 29, 2012 by The-ex-pat
22:20 February 28, 2012 by Chango Mutney

Common sense would suggest there should be a national speed limit, and a more constructive driving test to discourage kami kaze car drivers and motorcyclists.

Germany already has one of the hardest driving tests. In the UK or America for example, there is no requirement for a minimum number of hours, night driving, city, country or motorway driving before you take your test. Personally, I think that over the last 20 years the standard of German driving has improved vastly. When I first got here, tailgating on the Autobahn was at epidemic levels. You could not venture in the left lain without headlights and indicators flashing at you, something that you seldom see today. The no speed limit on the Autobahns is slowly by stealth a thing of the past. 120 kph traffic "management speed" is creeping in all over the place. Also another factor to add to the comments here depend on your upbringing. American's have been educated to believe that travelling any faster then 55mph will result in death, Brits likewise but 70 mph. It is hard to get that out of the system when you come to Germany. As for the proposed changed, it is psychological window dressing. 6x3 or 8x1 is going to get the same result. Just another politician trying to get in some media time.

And remember;

You can steal a man's money, you can bed his wife and daughter for a threesome, video it and upload it to youtube, but to criticise him as drive, that is the ultimate insult......
10:52 February 29, 2012 by raandy
This new system will do little to improve courtesy and dangerous and aggressive driving, which in many places is a serious violation whether you are driving with in the speed limit or not.

The use of blitzers is good for increasing revenue but little else. These devices are soon noticed and everyone slows for them and then jumps on the accelerator to warp factor 6 again, weaving in and out of lanes , flashing lights, blinkers and horns .I usually let my German wife drive on the infamous German auto bahn, to aggressive for me.

Ex Pat,, I agree it has improved over the last years maybe in a few more I will take up the challenge of autobahn driving again, if I can get my wife out behind the wheel :-)
12:32 February 29, 2012 by ERAUst
I have been here for ten years and I hate sometimes driving on the autobahn. I always get someone tailgating me no matter how fast I drive. There always going to be that reckless driver that has to prove there worth of the formula 1 circuit on the autobahns.

There is a small 20km stretch on the autobahn between Frankfurt and Koln where I have seen more accidents in a three years than I have in my entire life. This mostly because of bad drives hitting sharp curves and steep hills while trying to keep "Good Time" with there driving. There an even autobahn polizei station at the particular 20 km stretch. Yet I have never seen anyone pulled over in that area for bad driving during those three years and I drove up down that stretch allot over those years.

Fact is you can impose as many laws as you like it is not going to do any good unless you get the polizei out there to enforce those laws. So change the law we still going to have the same problem.
13:04 February 29, 2012 by McM
A pity this new system doesn't include the 'we own the world ' ratbag cyclist minority running lights , changing lanes ,blame everyone else, ....and terrorizing pedestrians all over the place with their self centered attitude to road safety and social transport manners. OK, so I am stirring a bit but this road problem it is at epidemic proportions in Germany.

I agree with the motor vehicle system change but it would be great to see a bit of attention to our precious two wheel rebels. I don't mean all cyclists just those that disregard the road rules. Good for the goose, good for the gander.
15:33 February 29, 2012 by hanskarl
@ERAUst: "I always get someone tailgating me no matter how fast I drive."

Might we suggest that you be a little more attentive to your limousines rear view mirror and move to the right to let the überspeeder pass? It seems to work for me and many of us. I believe there is also a law on the Autobahn to not pass on the right unlike American interstates and expressways.
09:53 March 2, 2012 by Clausrock
Yes, it is another person wanting their 15 minutes of fame. Germany already has the best traffic system I have seen in all of Europe and America. Do not fix what is not broken. Be thankful you do not have the Italian or Indian system. Enjoy what you have. Get the authorities to get away from the 2 lane B roads and 4 lane A roads. The traffic circles here are the best for control. Some metropolitan areas need a ring road around them for traffic congestion problems.
22:09 March 7, 2012 by Ecurie Ecosse01
In America the cops are setting up fake road works and speed traps. If caught speeding near or in Roadworks the fine and points are double. I believe that in the Netherlands that the speeding fine is also double in roadworks.

A minister in the UK has just resigned due to him transfering speeding points to his wife. They are now going through a divorce and both have now been charged with perverting the course of justice.
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