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

Von bussgeldkatalog.org, letzte Aktualisierung am: 21. September 2021

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€ 20
…11 - 15 km/h€ 40
…16 - 20 km/h€ 60
…21 - 25 km/h€ 701
…26 - 30 km/h€ 8011 month
…31 - 40 km/h€ 12011 month
…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€ 30
…11 - 15 km/h€ 50
…16 - 20 km/h€ 70
…21 - 25 km/h€ 8011 month
…26 - 30 km/h€ 10011 month
…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

How fines changed due to the new StVO:

Speeding out of townFine: old → newPointsDriving ban
up to 10 km/h€ 10 → € 20--
11-15 km/h€ 20 → € 40--
16-20 km/h€ 30 → € 60--
21-25 km/h€ 70 → € 701-
26-30 km/h€ 80 → € 801new: 1 month
31-40 km/h€ 120 → € 1201new: 1 month
Speeding in townFine: old → newPointsDriving ban
up to 10 km/h€ 15 → € 30--
11-15 km/h€ 25 → € 50--
16-20 km/h€ 35 → € 70--
21-25 km/h€ 80 → € 80 1new: 1 month
26-30 km/h€ 100 → € 1001new: 1 month

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 (8 m if there is a cycle path). 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.

German Parking FinesFinesPointsDriving ban
Parking at unclear road locations, sharp bends, on pedestrian crossings, 5m before / 10m after traffic lights€ 35
with obstruction€ 55
over 1 hour€ 55
over 1 hour with obstruction€ 55
Parking on foot- or bicycle paths€ 55
with obstruction€ 701
over 1 hour€ 701
over 1 hour with obstruction€ 801
over 1 hour with danger€ 801
over 1 hour with accident€ 1001
Parking on a confined space + obstruction to rescue vehicles€ 1001
Parking in front of or in fire service access road€ 551
obstructs emergency vehicles€ 1001
Parked on restricted areas in second row€ 55
with obstruction€ 801
with danger€ 901
with accident€ 1101
over 15 minutes€ 851
over 15 minutes with obstruction€ 901
Exceeding the parking time by up to 30 minutes€ 20
Up to 1 hour€ 25
Up to 2 hours€ 30
Up to 3 hours€ 35
Over 3 hours€ 40
Parking on a disabled parking spot€ 55
Parking on pedestrian areas or other prohibited zones€ 55
with obstruction€ 70
over 3 hours€ 70
Parking in the travel area of rail vehicles€ 55
with obstruction€ 701
Parking in places where stopping is prohibited€ 25
with obstruction€ 40
over 1 hour€ 40
over 1 hour with obstruction€ 50
Parking on special lanes and at bus stops€ 55
with obstruction€ 70
with danger€ 80
with accident€ 100
over 3 hours€ 70
over 3 hours with obstruction€ 80
over 3 hours with danger€ 100
over 3 hours with accident€ 100
Unpermissable parking on parking spots for E-Vehicles€ 55
Unpermissable parking on parking spots for Carsharing-Vehicles€ 55
German Stopping FinesFinePointsDriving ban
Stopping in narrow or unclear places, on sharp bends, on acceleration or deceleration strips, within five metres of pedestrian crossings, at taxi stands, up to ten metres in front of traffic lights, and where prohibited by markings, traffic lights and road signs€ 20
… with an obstruction€ 35
Stopping in the second row€ 55
… with an obstruction€ 701
… with danger€ 801
… with accident€ 1001
Stopping on bicycle lanes€ 55
… with an obstruction€ 701
… with danger€ 801
… with accident€ 1001
Unpermissable stopping on a bus lane or at bus stops€ 55
… with an obstruction€ 70
… with danger€ 80
… with accident€ 100

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

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  1. branney sagt:

    how many points for the tyres all 4 NOT matching?

    • Jesus sagt:

      Who wrote this article? I can’t find the Author.

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Branney,

      unmatching tyres are not generally forbidden. What’s forbidden is the combination of radial tyres and diagonal ply tyres. You’ll have to pay a fine of 15 € using a combination with these tyres.

      The editorial staff of bussgeldkatalog.org

  2. Crystal Bazzell sagt:

    Hi there
    Can you please tell me the law and or restrictions regarding a crack in the windshield of the vehicle. Its not in direct sight of the driver its in the top left corner of the window.

    Thank you
    Crystal B.

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Crystal,

      unless the crack does affect the sight of the driver there aren’t any restrictions.

      The editorial staff of bussgeldkatalog.org

  3. Sastreri sagt:

    Hello, I would like to know the fine for going over the speed limit on a 50 km/h going 74 km/h. The camera flashed. The vehicle is from Sweden. Will the police take the time and effort to send the ticket?

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hi Sastreri,

      if this happened in town you have to pay 80 euro and a charge of about 28 euro on top. Due to international agreements your public authorities can pursue the fine in your country.

      The editors of bussgeldkatalog.org

  4. val sagt:

    Hi,

    Where can I go to obtain a fine in person? I am concerned the postal box at my address is not secure.

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hi Val,

      you can call your competent authority. Maybe you can get and pay the fine there.

      The editors of bussgeldkatalog.org

  5. Paul G. sagt:

    Hello,
    I may have gotten a violation while on vacation!
    I think it was an auto/ photo computer thing on the autobahn near Frankfurt.
    There was a flash, like a camera. Also the rental car co. sent me a letter
    that authorities wanted my personal info.
    But I was never contacted, what is the procedure, and who do I write to?

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hi Paul,

      the german law says that the driver is liable for the violation. At first the german authorities write to the car owner – the rental company. The second step is that the company will give them your personal information. Third step: the authorities will contact you. So you don’t have to write something – just wait for the letter.

      The editorial staff of bussgeldkatalog.org

  6. Mumin E. sagt:

    Hi,

    I’m from Holland and I paid 25 euros for driving a bit too fast. It was ok to pay it and I was wrong, but I would like to know if it is possible to see the actual picture. The letter I got says “Film-Nr” and “Bild”, but who do I contact to get this picture?

    Kind regards,
    Mumin E.

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hi Mumin,

      on you penalty notice there have to be a phone number of the competent authority. You can call them and say that you want to examine the files.

      The editorial staff of bussgeldkatalog.org

  7. Hamza junaid sagt:

    Hi

    Iam from pakistan now iam in germany hessen iam take politecal stay asylum i make driving licence pleas u tell me i make licence ….yes….kay…no
    iam listen new laws come for asylum boy pleas tell me

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Hamza,

      normally you need an official proof of when and where you were born.
      But a court decision in June 2015 said that this is not necessary anymore. So a residence permit according to the Asylum Procedure Act should be enough to start with your driving license.

      The editorial team of bussgeldkatalog.org

      • Jesuran sagt:

        Hello,
        I was born in SriLanka . I’m 23 years old and I had a SriLankan authorized driving license (issued in 2013 and expired 2020). Now I was live in germany since 2 years . I applied for german driving license but I didn’t do a driving test because of my financial problem. Once i drived my car 100 meter because of parking place then I went to my work suddenly police came and required my license. I gave my SriLankan license . I want to know 100 meter drived my car is that false can I get a penalty and howmuch ?

        • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

          Hello Jesuran,

          driving without a valid licence is a traffic offense. The distance you drove is not relevant to the offense. The penalty depends much on the individual case so that a general answer is not possible.

          The editorial staff of bussgeldkatalog.org

  8. oldyellow sagt:

    What defines in town and out of town boundaries?

  9. Nicholas sagt:

    Hello sir, three months ago I was speeding around 75 km/ in 50 zone and I was cought by this speed camera….by then I was closer to a car in front….up to now no letter been received…hope nothing comes . Please sir what do you
    After three months….

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hi Nicholas,

      your fine maybe became invalid. There is a german limitation period for penalty notices.

      The editorial team of bussgeldkatalog.org

  10. Nicholas sagt:

    Hello sir …It me again….Please after this three months been cought again by police Mobil camera speeding around 60km in 50 zone… beside am in probation…

  11. Elise sagt:

    Hello Sir,

    I would like to know the penalty for driving someone else’s car without their knowledge and getting a speeding fine. Even though they let you drive it before.

    Many thanks

    • bussgeldkatalog.org sagt:

      Hello Elise,

      here it depends on whether you have a driving licence or not. The so called driver liability is in force in Germany. Therefore, the driver has to pay the fine. If you do not have a driving licence, you have comitted a criminal offence. In this case the car owner usually does not face any consequences.

      The editorial team of bussgeldkatalog.org

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