The Higher Regional Court in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, said in a judgement that passengers are not required to watch out for road signs. If they then take over from the driver after a warning sign they can't be held responsible for not heeding the warning.
The ruling was made in the case of a 38-year-old who swapped seats with his wife, who was driving, so that she could calm their crying child in the back of the car.
The couple parked up and swapped places. He then drove and overtook a vehicle despite being in a no overtaking zone.
The man was fined €87.50 for “negligent disregard” but he successfully appealed against the fine at the Higher Regional Court.
As a passenger when the car drove past the warning sign, he was not obliged to watch out for road signs because he was not a road user, the court ruled.
There were also no signs warning against overtaking after the man started driving. The case was sent back to the district court which will have to hear the case again.