Violating German traffic laws can be costly

Courtesy of 86th Mission Support Group

Failing to comply with German traffic laws just got a lot more expensive. Since April 1, the cost of traffic fines has increased, as has the likelihood that you’ll have your authority to drive in Germany suspended.

Here are a few examples of the new penalties for violating German traffic laws:

• Running a red light:
Fines range from €90 to €360. The maximum fine applies if the light was red for more than one second and the incident resulted in property damage. In addition, a one-month suspension of your driver’s license is added if running the light results in endangerment or property damage, or if the light was red for more than one second.

• Failure to yield right of way:
€100. Remember that in Germany, if not otherwise indicated (in other words, no priority road or yield signs), you must yield to the person coming from the right.

• Driving while intoxicated:
For administrative offenses (blood alcohol of less than 1.1 per mille), fines up to €1,500 are possible along with a mandatory suspension of one to three months. Remember, there is “zero alcohol tolerance” for drivers under 21. If your blood alcohol level is more than 1.1 per mille, this is a German criminal offense and the fines and suspension times are much higher — there is even a possibility of jail time. Further, under U.S. Army Europe Regulation 190-1, your USAREUR certificate of license, which authorizes you to drive in Germany, will be suspended or revoked for even longer periods of time.

• Speeding:
Fines range from €10 to €680. In addition, license suspensions of one to three months may be imposed. The maximum fine and suspension period apply when exceeding the speed limit inside city limits by more than 70 kph. Remember that city limits (and therefore speed limit of 50 kph unless posted otherwise) starts at the yellow city sign.

• Tailgating:
Fines range from €25 to €400, and license suspensions of one to three months are authorized.

• Parking ticket:
The fine for unauthorized parking can be up to €50. The maximum applies in case of parking in a designated fire lane with actual obstruction of an emergency vehicle.