German gov’t to raise fines for traffic offenders

The German government will increase fines for traffic offenders after members of parliament voted in favor of a corresponding proposal by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer on Wednesday.

The new fines, which were scheduled to come into effect this year, included increased fines for blocking sideways and cycle paths by illegally parked cars, which will be almost doubled from 55 to 100 euros (110 U.S. dollars).

In serious cases, where the parked car was blocking emergency access for firefighters, for example, car owners could be fined with an additional fee and a penalty point in the German traffic offenders’ registry.

Getting a penalty point in Germany often goes along with a temporary loss of the driver’s license. Once eight points are accumulated, drivers in Germany are banned permanently from driving until the penalty points are reduced by attending obligatory courses.

The German government also announced to “prosecute and punish” drivers if they failed to form an emergency lane during traffic jam. The unauthorized driving on such emergency lanes would be equally punishable. Misconducts would entail fines of between 200 and 320 euros as well as a one-month ban from driving.

According to the German Red Cross, four out of five rescue missions in Germany were impeded by blocked emergency lanes. Rescue forces in Germany lost an average of five minutes in order to reach the victims of accidents.

Furthermore, the German government agreed on opening up lanes that had previously been reserved for busses, cabs and bicycles. Now, regular cars with a minimum of three passengers were free to use these lanes as well.

According to the government, “the aim is to further reduce motorized private transport.” In the future, parking areas for electrically operated vehicles and bicycle-only zones would be implemented as well.