The New Traffic Penal Code in Germany: It will cost you more for your actions!

Photo by Jos van Ouwerkerk on Pexels.com

In the past 10 years, we have seen an exponential increase in the number of cars and bicycles on German roads and highways. And with them, we have lawless behavior, whether it was speeding and distracted driving or it was using the rescue lane as a driving lane and hindering crews in the process. There’s also passing in a no passing zone and disregarding the handicapped and those with E-cars in parking areas. We must also not forget the profanity and lewd language from the drivers onto the police officers and/or other drivers, which has caused a lot of stress on both sides.

Since 9 November 2021, if one does one of more of the above-mentioned examples, it will cost the person dearly. The new traffic laws catalogue (Bußgeldkatalog) is now in place and if one violates the traffic laws, one has to dig much deeper to pay up. In addition to that, it will be much easier to get a point or two from the German Department of Vehicle Registration (BKA) in Flensburg for each violation and the chances of getting a ban from driving is greater. Basically, the new catalogue will cause extensive pain to the driver while at the same time, provide painful lessons for the ages with the goal of bringing driving behavior back to levels where people should drive professionally and be courteous to others.

Some examples of what the new catalogue introduces for measures for driver violations include the following:

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Speeding:

For the most part, the fines have doubled for those who are caught speeding. For example, if you drive 10 km/h or less in town, instead of 20 Euros, the fine is 40 Euros. Between 11 and 15km/h, it’s 60 Euros and one can get a point from 16 km/h onwards. Two points are received if a person goes 26 km/h or more too fast and have to pay 235 Euros or more.  In the countryside, it’s 30 Euros for up to 10, 50 Euros for 11-15 km/h and 70 Euros for speeds up to 20 km/h. One point rule remains in effect for speeds between 21 and 30 km/h too fast but a 1-month driving ban is enforced if a driver goes 26 km/h or more too fast.  Fines for speeding can go as high as 800 Euros, up 120 Euros from the maximum fine in the old catalogue

More on the speeding catalogue here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/geschwindigkeitsueberschreitung/

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Parking:

The sharpest increase in fines happen to be for parking violations. Instead of 15 Euros for parking in a no parking zone, the fine for this violation is now 110 Euros. One has to remember: Red ring with one slash means a three-minute stopping period but a red ring with the X means absolutely no parking or stopping. For parking in a handicapped zone as well as a reserved spaces for E-cars and car-sharing, the fine for such violations is 55 Euros, up 20 from the last catalogue.

More on the parking catalogue here: https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/halten-parken/

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Red Light Violation:

Regardless of how many seconds you go through the red light and which vehicle, going through the red light has become a costly factor for not only costs but also the driving bans have gone up. For the time span of up to one second the fine is 90 Euros and 1 point. When even having a close call with other drivers, one can face fines of more than 200 Euros, receive two points and be banned from driving for 1 month.  If the red light was for longer than a second, the driver could face a one month ban and 200 Euros even if he/she didn’t cause an accident or force cars to stop to avoid one.  For cyclists who commited the red light violation, regardless of how many seconds, the fine has nearly doubled to 100 Euros and 1 point. Previously, it had been 60 Euros and a point.

More on the Red Light Violation here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/rote-ampel/

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Profanity and Vulgar Language:

While driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs has considerably one of the stiffest penalties, which includes the loss of license and possible jail time, the use of profanity and insulting police officers and other passers-by definitely can be considered a crime and can cost a person dearly both in the pocket books as well as in court. The least expensive penalty is 150 Euros for sticking out the tongue. However, the use of certain degrading words can range from 200 Euros for calling someone a “Girl” (Du Mädchen), to 1500 Euros for calling someone an “Idiot.” Call someone an “A**hole”, it’s 1600 Euros. If you consider a police officer an “Old sow” (Altes Sow), you can face a penalty of 2500 Euros.  Even hand gestures can cost a person in the thousands. The classic index finger to the forehead (der Vogel) can cost you 750 Euros. The hand-windschield-wider across the forehead (Scheibenwischer-Geste) can lead to a 1000 Euro fine. The middle finger is the costliest of penalties. You flip the bird, you can expect a fine of 4000 Euros!  Furthermore, a date with the judge and possible jail time for one year can be in store.  Because of the increase in insults and assaults on police officers within the past five years, such penalties are necessary and serve as notice to drivers to behave themselves in a professional manner. As one person mentioned: Money is the most painful punishment you can impose.

More on the Penalties involving Profanity, Vulgar Language and Illegal Gestures can be found here:

https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/beleidigung-im-strassenverkehr/

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New, stiffer penalties also include 320 Euros fine, one month driving ban and 2 points from Flensburg for driving in and/or blocking the rescue lanes during an accident. One can get a point and a fine between 60 and 120 Euros for driving with the wrong set of tires. And for cyclists and E-scooters, using the sidewalk and pedestrian paths and getting caught means at least 55 Euros. Distracted driving, which includes texting/phoning while driving is one of a few that have remained the same. Those caught can receive 1 point and a fine of at least 100 Euros.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

While the stiffer penalties are designed to rein in driver misbehavior on German roads, there has been criticism to the plan, which includes not introducing the speed limit on German motorways. Germany is the only EU-country that has no such limit, while other countries have that in force, mostly between 120 and 140 km/h. In America, speed limits on Interstate highways are between 70 mph and 85 mph. Some experts fear that the penalties are not dependent on the income of those affected and stiff penalties could ruin one’s finances for those with lower incomes, and be treated as a tip by the “super rich.”  Nevertheless, the police unions have welcomed the new plan which clarifies how to penalize someone for exact violations. Especially for verbal and gestural behaviors are being stressed because of the treatment of police officers by those violating the rules.  While policing is a hard job, it makes it harder when someone ignores the other persons and endangers them.

If there is a slogan for the new penal catalogue that is now in place, it is this: “Behave Yourself or Lose Your Car, Your Money and even Your Freedom.”  After years of “me and me too,” it’s time to look after the other person and simply be nice.  That is the plea from all parties involved from patrolmen to politicians, to the common people.

Details of the new guide can be found here:  https://www.bussgeldkatalog.org/neuer-bussgeldkatalog-2021/

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