Rules and penalties

Everyone takes part in road traffic, whether by car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or as a pedestrian. It is essential that everyone abides by established rules and shows consideration for other road users.

Driving license

If you want to drive a motor vehicle on public roads, you need a driver’s license to do so. The driving license is issued in certain classes. You must prove it by a driver’s license.

You must complete both the theoretical training and the practical training at a driving school. In both areas you have to pass an examination. If you do not pass these tests, you can retake them after a reasonable period of time has elapsed. This is possible after two weeks at the earliest. The number of repetitions is not limited.

points

Since 1. May 2014 the new driving aptitude register is in force. It replaced the previous central traffic register (sog. "traffic offender index") in Flensburg from. Only violations that have a direct impact on road safety are now recorded in the driving suitability register. Offenses that do not affect traffic safety are punishable only by a fine.

In the new driver suitability register, there are the following three categories of points:

  • 1 point is awarded for serious misdemeanors
  • 2 points are assigned for particularly serious administrative offences, which are usually associated with a driving ban, and for criminal offences
  • 3 points are awarded for offenses that resulted in the revocation of the driver’s license

As before, the system provides Three levels of measures before:

  • Up to 3 points: Recording in the driving suitability register
  • 4 to 5 points: The driver licensing authority sends a chargeable warning and informs you of the first action level. One point can be reduced by attending a voluntary driving aptitude seminar
  • 6 or 7 points: The second level of measures takes effect. The chargeable warning informs that if the next level is reached, the driver’s license will be revoked.
  • 8 points or more: revocation of the driver’s license if the admonition and warning were previously pronounced (third level of measures).

Responsible for measures in the point system according to § 4 StVG is the driver’s license office responsible for the place of residence. You can find the authority responsible for you, including contact details, on the Service BW administrative platform by entering your postal code.

Old points registered before 1. May 2014 will be converted to the new system accordingly. Information about previously registered points can be obtained from service-bw.

Detailed information about the driving suitability rating system can be obtained from the Federal Ministry of Transport.

Driving licenses for light trucks, vans and minibuses

On 28. December 2016, important changes in driving license law have come into force. The reason for these changes was an EU – infringement proceedings. Essentially, it is about the following innovations:

  • The driving license categories C1 and C1E (small trucks) will be limited to five years and will only be extended after a health check. Everyone over the age of 28 is affected. December 2016 newly issued driver’s licenses. For driving licenses issued between 1. January 1999 and the 27. If a driver’s license was newly issued on or after December 31, 2016, it will continue to be valid until the driver reaches the age of 50. You must not have reached the age of 18. Holders of class 3 (old) driving licenses who have been issued up to 31. Those who were issued a new license on December 1998 enjoy the status of a valid driver’s license. These driving licenses remain valid indefinitely.
  • Vehicles used to transport passengers with a maximum permissible mass of more than 3.500 kg require at least class D1 (small bus), even if only up to eight passenger seats are available. This also includes minibuses, citizens’ buses and stretch limousines. On the other hand, vehicles of the police, fire department, rescue services, disaster control, armored limousines and motor homes are particularly excluded. The pick-ups (flatbed trucks) used by many craft businesses may also continue to be driven with class C1. Affected by the new regulations are all drivers who have been on the road since the age of 28. December 2016 issued driving licenses. For holders of a driving license issued up to the age of 27. Class C1 driving licenses issued as of December 2016 will not change. Previously, class C1, C1E, C and CE motor vehicles with a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3.500 kg could also be driven if they were designed and built to carry no more than eight people in addition to the driver. In the future, class D1 (small bus) will be required due to EU regulations.

The originally envisaged retroactive application of these amendments also for the period between 19. January 2013 and the 27. Driving licenses issued on December 2016 will cease to apply. However, since the regulations on the period of validity of classes C1 and C1E and on the delimitation of classes C1 and D1 have been in force since 19. If a driver’s license does not comply with European law as of January 1, 2013, the possibility of complaints from foreign authorities when driving abroad cannot be ruled out.

With queries, driving license holders can contact the driving license office responsible for the place of residence at the city or district.

Road traffic regulations

The basic traffic regulations are laid down in the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO). Here you will find, among other things, the regulations on how fast you are allowed to drive, what distances must be maintained or what lighting is required. There are also rules for pedestrians that must be observed. The Road Traffic Regulations specify, for example, the obligation to use sidewalks, but also the cases in which pedestrians are allowed to walk on the roadway by way of exception.

In addition to rights and obligations in road traffic, the StVO also contains prohibitions. All actions that could interfere with traffic are generally prohibited, as is excessive road use. Traffic, danger, regulation and directional signs are also illustrated and explained in the Road Traffic Ordinance.

The Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) is a legal regulation issued by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The road traffic authorities of the federal states are responsible for the implementation of the StVO – for example, the ordering of traffic signs or the granting of an exemption.

As the supreme road traffic authority, the Ministry of Transport provides the framework for the approximately 150 road traffic authorities in Baden-Wurttemberg. The Ministry’s Mobile Road Safety Commission advises local authorities and introduces new solutions to further improve road safety standards in the country and the protection of the residential population from noise and exhaust fumes.

Fines

Traffic regulations are intended to ensure that no one is obstructed, inconvenienced or even endangered. An essential goal of the punishment of traffic violations is road safety. The prosecution of traffic offences is intended to encourage road users to comply with traffic regulations, in addition to appropriate information, training and road safety education, in order to prevent accidents and other road hazards.

The fines are aimed at sanctioning the main causes of accidents, in particular

  • Inappropriate speed,
  • dangerous overtaking,
  • Right of way violations, red light violations,
  • Too little distance.

Compulsory exchange of old driving licenses

Many drivers are still on the road with the old paper driver’s license, the so-called gray or pink "rag". These documents lose from 19.01.2022 gradually their validity – staggered according to the year of birth of the holder or holder. The old license must therefore be replaced in time by the currently valid EU-uniform card driver’s license. Holders of an older check-card-sized driver’s license are also affected by the exchange.

What do I have to do now?

As a first step, you should check which driver’s license document you have. If your driver’s license needs to be exchanged, you should check how long you have left to do so. Depending on the exchange period, you should take action at least one year before the end of the exchange period that applies to you. To exchange, you must submit an application to your driver licensing authority. This is usually located at the responsible district office, and in the independent cities of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Pforzheim, Stuttgart and Ulm at the town halls.

Which old driver’s licenses lose their validity and have to be exchanged??

Everyone is affected Paper driving licenses which were issued until 31.12.1998 have been issued. Even driver’s licenses in Credit card format, which will last until 18.01.2013 issued should be exchanged. After the exchange you will receive the new EU card driver’s license.

By when must the exchange of old paper driver’s licenses take place?

The exchange of old Paper driver’s licenses, the up to and including 31.12.1998 will be staggered according to your date of birth (see table). After expiration of the respective exchange period, your old driver’s license loses its validity. All persons born between 1953 and 1958 should return their paper driver’s license by the age of 19.01.2022 have exchanged. The other birth years will follow staggered in the next years.

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