***image1***Many traffic rules changed in Germany April 1, according to the Koblenz police headquarters in the state of Rhienland-Pfalz:
• Making a call while driving without a “no-hands” phone system will now result in a 40 Euro fine. Because tickets from 40 Euro upwards earn points against your license, making a call with a hand-held mobile phone while driving is now punished with a point too.
• Cyclists now pay 25 Euro when they are caught phoning while cycling, but do not receive a point. U.S. authorities assess two points against a U.S. Army Europe license for this offense in Germany.
• A fine of 40 Euro is due if motorists park cars that could prevent rescue vehicles from getting through a narrow street.
• Going the wrong way around a traffic circle will cost 20 Euro.
• A 40 Euro fine is now the penalty for people who pass vehicles on highways at a speed that is not significantly higher than that of the vehicle being passed. This measure is mainly aimed at the so-called “elephant races” between trucks on the autobahn. The small speed difference becomes a risk for the traffic following and can lead to rear-end collisions.
Various police forces in Germany have announced they will be increasing checks on these traffic violations during the coming weeks to encourage people to drive safely.