German driving laws – fines for speeding, drunk driving, parking violations etc.

Von Sandra, letzte Aktualisierung am: 4. Oktober 2019

German traffic laws for foreigners

german traffic laws for foreigners
German traffic laws for foreigners

Regarding the question, whether Germans are considerate or rather reckless drivers, everyone will have a different answer after a visit to Germany. That is not surprising considering there are 43 million registered cars in Germany after all. And there are a variety of differences between their drivers. Therefore, the “German driving style” can hardly be evaluated, because there is no such thing as “a German driver”.

According to a recent survey conducted by an insurance company, 96% of all German drivers consider themselves as “very good” or at least “quite good” drivers. Admittedly, the number of traffic deaths is declining every year, but nevertheless, the proportion of traffic deaths in other countries like the UK or the Netherlands is still smaller than in Germany. In spite of that, you can give credit to the Germans that only a sixth of the 43 million car drivers has got so called Punkte in Flensburg (points in Flensburg).

The Flensburger Konto (account in Flensburg) generally records, if someone committed traffic violations like speeding. The bigger the hazard caused by the misbehaviour, the more points will be recorded on the account. If a traffic offender has gathered 8 points, he or she must hand in the driving licence permanently.

FAQ: German driving laws

Is my driving licence valid in Germany?

Usually foreign licences are valid in Germany. Depending on how long someone is staying, different laws apply. Please check here for more information.

Is there a speed limit valid in Germany?

Yes, in communities the general speed limit is 50 km/h. Information about other speed limits and about fines for violations of those can be found here.

Will drunk driving be punished in Germany?

Yes, drunk driving is a traffic violation and from a certain point onwards will be seen as a criminal offence. The general limit is 0,5 ‰ and 0,0 ‰ for drivers under 21 or with a new licence. Check here for more informtion.

The points also apply to foreigners

Points for foreigners
Points for foreigners

Under German law, foreigners travelling through Germany are able to collect points in Flensburg as well, if they commit a violation according to the schedule of fines. The rules regarding the points apply to foreigners just like they do to natives. Additional to the points, there are further penalties which can be imposed on foreigners.

  • For instance, a fine which is sent as a penalty notice to foreign countries as well. If the recipient does not pay the fine, it will also result in enforcement proceedings – at least in the EU.
  • Furthermore, car drivers who committed certain violations like running a red light may be punished with a temporary driving ban which usually lasts for one to three months.

The German schedule of fines is a unified compilation of all German traffic violations and fines according to German driving laws. It also states which additional penalties are imposed on offenders. The schedule of fines defines if the violation entails a driving ban and how long this ban will last. It also determines if points are being recorded and how many.

Furthermore, the German law states that criminal offences like drunk driving can already result in the revocation of the driver’s licence – even if the offender has not gathered 8 points on the account in Flensburg yet. A so called MPU is one of the steps to regain the driver’s permit. It is short for Medizinisch-Psychologische Untersuchung (medical-psychological examination) and requires a report which must attest the offender a more careful driving style in the future. It is often not that easy to receive one. As long as this report is not issued, the offender cannot drive a car in Germany with his or her previous driver’s licence.

In this instance, the traffic offender can lose his or her driving permit abroad as well. The EUCARIS (European Car and Driving Licence Information System) has the data of holders of a driver’s licence from many European countries and provides authorities abroad with it. Thus a driving ban can be enforced there. A general statement if this will happen in other countries is not possible though.

If it happens, there is the possibility that only the violatioin against the regulation of “carrying a driving licence” is punished abroad as sometimes the criminal offence “driving without a driving licence” does not exist in this country.

Revocation of a foreign driving permit

German driving laws allow for two different kinds of driving bans. In the case of a temporary driving ban, the driver’s licence will be revoked as a penalty for a period of up to three months. Afterwards, the holder reacquires it from the authorities. This procedure is also legitimate with a foreign driver’s permit. The ban is usually marked on the concerned licence.

Even if someone is in Germany for just a short time – as a tourist for example – and is punished with a driving ban, the traffic offender cannot unmake it by leaving Germany. The temporary ban prohibits driving in Germany for the defined period of time. If an offender drives during the ban, her or she can be charged with driving without a licence upon re-entry into Germany. This is a criminal offence by German law which is punished with a fine or even a prison sentence of up to one year.

A permanent driving ban for the holder of a foreign driver’s licence is regulated by section 69b in the StGB (German criminal code). It states that the preliminary permission to operate a vehicle in Germany with a foreign driving permit is revoked with the driving ban. Furthermore, it is not possible to get a German driving licence within a retention period set by the authorities.

If the offender is from an EU country, his or her seized driver’s permit will be sent to the appropriate authority in their home country. In some cases, it might even be sent to the home address of the offender. If not, the ban will be noted on the licence itself – the licence then will not be valid anymore in Germany.

Again, if someone drives a car in spite of that, he or she commits a criminal offence. This driving without a licence will not be treated as a traffic violation according to the schedule of fines, but as an offence as per German law. This also means the case will be taken to court. Legal consequences differ from country to country, if you drive without a licence outside of Germany.

Do I need a German driving licence?

Information about the German driving licence
Infomatione about the German driving licence

Someone who is staying in Germany for extended periods of time and is driving a car here, may want to get a German driving licence. According to German driving laws, this is not necessary if the stay is a short one! The foreign driver’s licence is valid in Germany in the first few months, especially if you are from an EU country. You should check the age limits or time restrictions for the different kinds of licences in Germany. A driver’s licence class C1 and C1E for example needs to be renewed every five years.

Drivers from one of the member states of the EU or a contractual state of the European Economy Area (EEA) will have less problems having their foreign driver’s permit validated in Germany. A translation of the driver’s permit into German is not necessary in these cases. A driver’s licence acquired and issued in such a country will still be valid, if the holder registers a new place of residence in Germany as per German law.

But heads up: the termination date of the driving permit remains valid! Possibly, you have to request an extension with the German authorities. Since the processing will take some time, you should contact the authorities opportunely. You will receive the German documents together with the extension of your driver’s licence, provided that your registered residence is in Germany and you spend at least 185 days a year there.

Driving permits from non-EU countries

So a driver’s licence which was issued within the EU is usually applicable in Germany without any problems. If you have a foreign driver’s permit, though, which was not issued in a EU country nor an EEA country, we strongly advise you to get professional consulting at your local admissions office. According to German driving laws, your current driver’s licence will be valid for the first six months when you have registered a German residency. After that time it will expire. You will have to apply for a German driving licence in due time.

The regulations for acquiring the German driving licence depend on the country the original driver’s licence was issued in. You can find out the regulations for your country at your local driving licence office. Provided that you are not staying longer than a year in Germany, you can get a special permit; thereby you do not have to get a new licence. This special permit must be recorded in your documents; otherwise you might get into trouble at a traffic check.

Speed limits in Germany

Speeding fines in Germany should not be  underestimated.
Speeding fines in Germany should not be underestimated.

Germany has a speed limit of 50 km/h within built-up areas and 100 km/h outside built-up areas – like most European countries. On the other hand, there is no speed limit on the German Autobahn (motorways) – just a recommended speed of 130 km/h. Car drivers are required to drive according to the weather conditions, though. For instance, ice and snow can make it necessary for drivers to drive slower. Consistently, there are heated discussions on establishing a speed limit on the German Autobahn as well. Up to now, this is not the case though.

However, there are traffic signs indicating a speed limit on many street sections and on the motorways as well. Drivers who are speeding in Germany may be caught by a speed trap. The driver must be recognizable on the photo which can be automatically taken by the radar trap. In Germany it is the driver that is liable, which lies in contrast to other countries. Therefore, the registered keeper of the vehicle does not always receive the penalty notice, but it must be undoubtedly clarified on the basis of the photographic evidence that the suspected person was in fact driving.

The following table contains some fines for speeding violations against German driving laws along with the related point and shows if a driving ban is imposed.

German speeding fines

Out of townFinePointsDriving ban
…1 - 10 km/h€ 10
…11 - 15 km/h€ 20
…16 - 20 km/h€ 30
…21 - 25 km/h€ 701
…26 - 30 km/h€ 801
…31 - 40 km/h€ 1201
…41 - 50 km/h€ 16021 month
…51 - 60 km/h€ 24021 month
…61 - 70 km/h€ 44022 months
> 70 km/h€ 60023 months

In townFinePointsDriving ban
…1 - 10 km/h€ 15
…11 - 15 km/h€ 25
…16 - 20 km/h€ 35
…21 - 25 km/h€ 801
…26 - 30 km/h€ 1001
…31 - 40 km/h€ 16021 month
…41 - 50 km/h€ 20021 month
…51 - 60 km/h€ 28022 months
…61 - 70 km/h€ 48023 months
> 70 km/h€ 68023 months

Parking violations

Parking violations
Parking violations

Many tourists do not know the regulations when it comes to parking in Germany. That is not surprising, since there are a lot of rules to follow: it is stated in the StVO (German driving laws) that it is forbidden to park 5 m in front of crossovers or side roads. Lowered kerbs are also off-limits. Moreover, drivers are supposed to park in a space-saving way and must not park in front of a driveway, bus stop signs or on manhole covers. Overall, parking is not allowed in a lot of places pursuant to German driving laws. If these regulations are violated, the driver will get a parking ticket. Parking is permitted at places with a blue traffic sign with a white “P” on it. Sometimes you will have to get a pay-and-display-ticket first, though.

Safety regulations in the car

It is advisable to equip your car according to the safety regulations before driving in Germany. It can be inspected at a traffic check, if you have

  • a reflective vest
  • a first aid kid
  • a warning triangle

in your car. This equipment is obligatory in Germany just like in most EU countries. Furthermore, the condition of the tyres is sometimes checked as well. The minimum tread depth in Germany is 1.6 mm as per German law; it also is mandatory to have winter tyres, if the weather conditions dictate it.

There is a seatbelt requirement in Germany, too: all passengers must wear a seatbelt while driving. By the way, this also applies to coaches!

Passengers of full age are punished with a fine of € 30, if they do not wear a seatbelt in a moving car. In accordance with German driving laws children smaller than 150 cm have to be double secured: with a seatbelt and a children’s, baby or booster seat. As soon as one of the obligatory safety measures is violated, a fine of € 30 is inflicted. If a child is detected with no safety device whatsoever, the driver will have to pay a fine of € 60 and will get a point in Flensburg. If several children are not secured at all, the fine will increase to € 70.

Drunk driving and drug driving

drunk driving
Drunk driving

It is undisputable that the consumption of drugs and alcohol limits the ability to respond. Therefore, the risk to get into a car accident increases enormously. This way, you not only endanger yourself, but also others on the road.

The German alcohol laws and drug laws are very strict, thus the punishment for drunk driving or for driving under the influence of drugs is particularly harsh. The fines go from € 500 to € 1500. Additionally, long driving bans are imposed and multiple points are recorded.

A driver who is caught with 1.1 mg/ml or higher commits a criminal offence and is taken to court. A car driver who is at least 21 years old and has his or her driver’s licence for at least 2 years has a legal alcohol limit of 0.5 mg/ml. There is no traffic violation existent up to this limit, as long as the driving style is not suspicious or endangers others. Adolescents under 21 have a legal limit of 0.0 mg/ml: they are not allowed to drink any alcohol, if they want to operate a vehicle afterwards. The same is valid for new drivers, who have had their licence for less than two years.

The use of marijuana is also prohibited by law in Germany. Therefore, drug driving can not only result in prosecution, but a driving ban as well.

Fines for cyclists and pedestrians

Most of the violations mentioned in the schedule of fines refer to drivers of power-driven vehicles. Pursuant to German driving laws, pedestrians and drivers of non-motorised vehicles can receive a penalty notice as well, though. Cyclists whose bike is not equipped with the proper lighting have to pay a fine of up to € 25. Pedestrians have to pay a warning fine of € 5, if they cross against the red light. Cyclists get a point and a fine of € 60 for this violation. Helmets are not mandatory for cyclists in Germany. By the way, a ride with the bike with over 1.6 mg/ml or a suspicious driving style with at least 0.3 mg/ml can already lead to a criminal charge! Additionally, the offender gets 3 points.

German driving laws are mostly only slightly different to the regulations in other countries. All these sets of rules, like the StVO, are intended for the same thing: increase traffic safety so most accidents can be prevented. Car drivers who are on the road in Germany can do little wrong, when they stick to the prescribed guidelines in section 1 of the StVO: All road and transport users are urged to be considerate of others and drive carefully at all times. Everyone who takes these principles to heart will have no problems while driving in Germany or elsewhere.

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1.051 Kommentare

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  1. Gregorio sagt:

    Hello,

    6 years ago I got my driving license removed for 16 months due a drink driving offense. After that time I got the driving back, german driving license.

    Last month I commited a speed offense, only 1 point as I was driving 121km/h in a 100km/h road.

    I got a letter from “Regierungspräsidium” where they said Im recidivist and therefore I have to pay much more than the initial 70€.

    I sent a complain that I wasnt agree with this statement and then they just replied with the proof of what happened 6 years back in time. In that record I can see that I got my point increased in number of 5 but they appear “crossed out” so I have no idea if among removing my driving license they add 5 points into my counter …

    So I have 2 questions here:
    1. Didnt I already paid within 16 months and x€ not to be recidivist?
    2. Are those points added into my record even though I got my driving license removed and got a new one?
    3. How can I find this out?

    Thanks a lot,
    Gregorio

  2. Kamil sagt:

    Hi,
    camera on motorway make me a picture for speeding. There is any way i can check on any web site that the picture was taken for me or car front of me??

  3. Denny sagt:

    Hello,

    My partner was in Germany in 2013 and had an accident and tried to run away from there and was drunk. They took his driving license and offered him either 100 days prison or €3200 fine and he chose the fine, paid the first instalment and had to go home to Bulgaria for a holiday but decided to stay there and was afraid to go back since then. My question is can he drive or enter Germany at all? Is there a period of time the fine is active?

    Thanks

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Denny,

      your partner should consult a lawyer for an assessment of his situation.

      The team of bussgeldkatalog.org

  4. Ray sagt:

    Hello,

    I will be moving to Germany in next few months from another EU member country.
    I only had my license for half a year so far. Which would mean in Germany I would drive in the probationary period. I’ve heard from some sources that you could only lose your license (while in probation) if you get issued one point (or more) because of the violation. For example: Driving 21 km/h + over the limit. So in the unfortunate event I would get caught speeding, however driving only for example 15 km/h over. Is it only punished by fine ? Or are there further repercussions ? And is there any difference regarding this because of me having foreign (though still EU) license ?

    Thanks.

  5. Onyebuchi o sagt:

    I was caught for the first time with alcohol in my system while driving , what will be my Punishment ?

  6. Sandy sagt:

    Hello,
    I was driving on A5 where there was restricted speeds due to construction. I drive on this stretch almost everyday. There was a limit of 60 km/h and I was driving above it (do not remember how much but should be less than 80). Normally there is no issues and almost everyone drives above. Today I saw a policeman seated on a bike on the other side (normally noone is there) near the exit looking around and writing something down and also felt a ray (not sure if it was sunlight or flash but it did not seem to be a normal flash). Do you think there were mobile camera around ? If so will there be driving ban ?

  7. Svet sagt:

    Hello. I’ve received a fine for passing on red light which results to one month driving ban.
    As I admit my mistake and I’m willing to take the consequences I need information on where I should give/send my license to ensure the penalty is being served. There was no specific information in the letter except that I have to give it within 4 months.
    If it makes difference the region is Badden-Württemberg, Heidelberg.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. imran r. sagt:

    hello i got camera flash while i was on 40km even road speed was 50km and i don’t cross red light i am not sure what happened why camera flashed even nobody was speeding that was rush time and every one was going with same pace do camera make mistake?

  9. Anonimus sagt:

    My friend drived with 0.62alhohol in germany and drug in his blood what is the punishment??

  10. Sagar M. sagt:

    Hi,
    I am a resident of Germany with a germany driver’s license. Recently i had a friend visiting me from India who took my car out to drive in the city. He holds an Indian driver’s license and is a good driver. While driving he entered a 30 zone and was 21 kmph over the speed limit and got flashed. I have not received any fine letter yet but i am expecting it soon. My question is as follows
    – My friend is happy to have his name disclosed when i submit a response. How can i provide his details to the authorities so that he receives the fine letter and pays the fine. He has already left for India. Do the authorities send a letter to him directly or can I pay the fine in euros on his behalf?
    – What proof do i need to provide to the authorities so that I dont get charged for his driving. Do i need to provide his driving license number or visa etc?
    – lastly, what if i choose not to disclose his name to the authorities. What are the next steps in such a case?

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Sagar M.,

      you can just give his contact information to the authorities when you receive their letter. A proof for you not driving should be the picture they took of the driver who drove too fast. If you refuse to give those information, they could oblige you to create a list of all the people who drive your car. If this list does not match the formal regulations, you might have to pay a fine.

      Your team of bussgeldkatalog.org

  11. Hossein sagt:

    Hallo
    Im Februar 2018 habe ich für zwei Jahre die Temporäre Aufenthaltskarte in Anspruch genommen (Firmengründung) und bin immer auf Reisen und vielleicht für einen Monat eine Woche in Deutschland. Kann ich einen internationalen Führerschein führen, bis ich einen deutschen Führerschein erhalte, oder muss ich einen deutschen Führerschein haben, weil ich in den letzten sechs Monaten eine Karte bekommen habe?
    Danke

  12. saif a. sagt:

    hello,
    i bought a moped 50cc scooter in Berlin and i was checking it without helmet and insurance on pavement a police officer caught me and said you will be fined can anyone tell me how much will be the fine for driving without insurance ?
    thanks

  13. Maria sagt:

    My son accidentally hitted an old person while driving a pedelec. No serious injury was caused and he was not driving too fast (the old person was crossing the road not in a pedestrians crossing point). We have received a letter that says that criminal charges has been dismissed but can he still get a fine?
    Thanks

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Maria,

      we are not familiar with your case an therefore not able to tell you if there could be a fine. In principle it is possible.

      The team of bussgeldkatalog.org

  14. Peter sagt:

    I have received three tickets in three months all speeding over 20kmph in construction zones. How many points can I loose before I receive a driving ban?

  15. rachel sagt:

    Is there somewhere online where we can check to see how many points our license has?

  16. PBM sagt:

    I recently got multiple letters for parking violation 6 months after the event..How many parking tickets can get before points are taken from my license?

  17. Anastasia sagt:

    Hello,
    I moved to Germany half year ago. I went across the road against the red light on my bicycle and got the fine police. I provided my address to police and waited the waited for a receipt. But the two weeks latear I moved to new apartment and my old landlord sent my post back and removed my name from the post box. I already changed my registration but I actualy can’t recive the my recipt now. How I can got my fine?

  18. Austin S sagt:

    What penalty would be imposed to drivers who are speeding in Germany? Do they have to take driving lessons again?
    Thank you

  19. Samatha sagt:

    I was found drunk with 1.1mg what can happen to me. I am so scared about this problem. Please help

  20. Michael sagt:

    Hi, last week I was stopped whilst riding an E-scooter and I was over the limit according to the roadside test. I went to the police station where they took my blood. I am likely to loose my licence, but I was wandering what the possible penalty might be??

  21. Samir sagt:

    Hi,
    I got a letter from a Straßenverkehr saying that i have violated rules of speeding.
    I was driving at 97km/h and the allowed speed was 50km/h inside the Build up area.
    Can anyone tell me what will be the fines for that case ?
    And is there any way to reduce that?
    Thanks
    Samir

  22. Jean sagt:

    My daughter rented a car from Europcar to drive my husband and I through Germany. We have been notified by Europcar that Violation 1087259910 (or Freiburg: 505030067325) was issued on 14,06,2019. How do we find out what the offense was and how to take care of it?

    We have received nothing from anyone except Europcar.

    Please reply in English if possible.

    Thank you.
    Jean
    We are US citizens and daughter has International Drivers Liscense.

  23. Lucky sagt:

    I want to know what can happen and what can be penalty for driving on red light in probation time Germany how much fine I have to pay and what penalties will get in probationary time

  24. Praveen sagt:

    I was fined for lane splitting. The police said I will get a letter of 150€ fine and a point. Since I am in the probation period, they may send to schooling costing another 300€. How can I avoid this schooling class? When I go for an inquiry, should I accept my fault or no? What I shall do?

  25. Wei sagt:

    Hallo,

    Is there a way to check pending traffic violations/tickets in Germany online? Danke!

    Wei

  26. Aleksandar sagt:

    Hi. I got cought by a radar in Koln, I was driving around 45 in a 30kmh zone… That was back in May but I never recived a ticket for that? is this normal or what? because I was caught by radar before and I never waited more than a month for a ticket.

  27. HP sagt:

    When i was trying to park the car. I was too close to a car that was parked in my back.

    I breaked hard as i heard my Parking distance sensor was intimating me that i was too close. Since i was worried that Sensor intimation was too close,I moved the car a little far away on the same road and checked if i had hit with my car. There was no signs that there was a touch from my car. since i dint feel the touch and there was no scratch or hint of touching i drove the car away. This was the first time i was driving my new car and its first time i came very close with another car during parking, hence dint know if i had to stay as i had not hit the car.
    Next day, i had Police come to my house for a Hit and run. I explained that there was no touch that i felt and there is no touch on my car.
    Even the Police checked and confirmed the same. I am not sure of the status of the case now. Could you please let me know what would be the consequence of this?

  28. Zohair sagt:

    Hello,
    I am a student in Bremen, Germany. I was on my bicycle and there were two signals next to each other one was red and the other was green. I crossed the road, a police officer stopped me and ask for my details and now I got a fine of 128 euros. It is too much as I am a student, is there any way to reduce the fine or get an exemption. If not can I pay the fine in installments if yes, then from where I can make the installments ??

  29. Ravindra sagt:

    Hallo All,
    I had a strange situation today morning. I had to rop my kid at school and all the park places are full.
    Hence I had to park my car for 5 minites infront of garage. Meantime the owner of the house came out and taking photos, when I retrned ge was taking pictures and I said sorry and left the place.
    The owner is not police, will he go to police to complain about me?
    Now my question is will I get the fine for parking?
    I have not blocked any vehicle, no damage etc…
    Many thanks in advance.
    Regards
    Ravi

  30. Manuel sagt:

    Hello, Is it possible for anyone to call the police and say for example“ The car with xxxx number plate is driving over the speed limit, or is running a red light, or is behaving badly in traffic“ ? How could the police verify their statement? Will the driver get a fine just because someone told on him? What if I just want someone to get fined and i lied about him? Can I lie? how could he demonstrate the contrary?

  31. Edrian sagt:

    Hallo,
    ich habe eine fragen, ich bin heute Auto gefahren ohne Fahrerlaubnis und die Polizei hat mich kontrolliert. Ich habe die Theorie Prüfung bestand, auch fertig mit fahr stünde und fällt noch die praktisch Prüfung das bald stattfinden. Was kann ich jetzt tun, soll ich weiter die Prüfung oder nicht?

  32. Jac sagt:

    Can I new driver loose his driving license with 1 point ?

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