Traffic police plan huge blitz for speeders

Drivers in north-western Germany should watch their speed on Wednesday, as two German states and the Netherlands will be launching a joint effort to crack down on speeders.

Traffic police plan huge blitz for speeders
Photo: DPA

The 24-hour crackdown will start at 6 am Wednesday, with speed checks set up at 4,000 sites, the interior ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony announced at a press conference in Münster on Monday.

“Speeding doesn’t stop at state borders,” said Ralf Jäger, interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia and a Social Democrat (SPD). “Travelling at high speeds is the killer number one everywhere.”

The interior ministers and Dutch officials said the offensive was to combat the sharp rise in the number of traffic deaths seen last year, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported on Monday.

Dutch traffic police chief Fokko Klok praised the collaboration, saying it would lead to fewer deaths, NDR reported. Drivers have been under stricter surveillance in the Netherlands since September, when the top speed limit was raised from 120 to 130 kilometres per hour.

In Lower Saxony, the number of traffic deaths rose from 479 in 2010, to 540 last year, the broadcaster reported.

More than a million drivers were checked during two so-called “Blitz Marathons” this year in North Rhine-Westphalia. The operation caught 39,000 speeders – even though the control points were announced in advance.

State officials credit the campaigns with the decrease in traffic deaths over the first nine months of 2012. The number of traffic deaths decreased by 15.4 percent over the year before during that timeframe NDR reported.

DAPD/The Local/mbw

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners