This way you can avoid points in Flensburg
The reform of the fine is expected to come into force in 2014. For offenses that have nothing to do with road safety, there should no longer be any points, the repayment periods f…For other violations, however, should be extended.
Source: picture-alliance / dpa / cr / gr
For many drivers, the points account in Flensburg will soon be empty. Repayment periods for offenses are extended. Interview with traffic lawyer Uwe Lenhart about sins in road traffic.
W.hen their very special account balance is about to fall, that should not be wrong for millions of drivers in Germany – it’s about their points account with the sinner’s file in Flensburg. From February 1, 2014, Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer (CSU) no longer wants certain offenses to be punished with points that were not directly related to safety on the road. For this reason, some saved points should also be deleted. On the other hand, repayment periods are to be extended for other violations.
"There will be no general amnesty," emphasizes the ministry, which presented the main features of the reform in February and has now drawn up a draft. The file should no longer contain any offenses "that do not constitute an administrative offense that would impair traffic safety". This applies, for example, to driving into the environmental zones of large cities without a mandatory sticker, for which there is currently one point. If there is no longer a point for this, then saved points for the same offense could not be retained, the experts argue. Around a million citizens could disappear completely from the file in this way. So far, around nine million drivers have been recorded in Flensburg.
Environmental zone violations free of points
When it comes to punishing violations, it’s not just about points, because there are also fines. The combination of both is to be readjusted in part. For example, in the future no points will be charged for environmental zone violations, but 80 instead of 40 euros. A total of around 47 million saved points in Flensburg have to be converted for the reform. The new system provides that offenses are no longer rated with 1 to 7 points, but only with 1, 2 or 3 points, depending on their severity. The driver’s license is already gone with 8 instead of 18 points.
“Welt” spoke to Uwe Lenhart, one of the most renowned traffic lawyers in Germany and author of the legal advisor “Road Traffic Law”, about the new catalog of fines.
The world: Mr. Lenhart, you defend "traffic offenders". Which people come to your office??
Uwe Lenhart: There is no such thing as a typical “speeder”. In my day-to-day work at a law firm, I deal with completely normal people. We are all affected by such misconduct, from the unemployed to the board of directors of the major bank.
The world: Do the public prosecutors and judges fail to show you enough understanding of the situation of drivers?
Lenhart: It is quite a problem that many prosecutors and judges do not participate in road traffic nearly as much as those who are affected by the regulations. Some do not have a driver’s license at all, and many are almost exclusively using public transport or bicycles. And they don’t even know what’s going on on the autobahn. They can’t even imagine the pressure someone is under when they have to keep appointments all over Germany.
The world: How difficult it is to arouse understanding for the consequences of an impending driving ban?
Lenhart: It also depends a lot on where it happens to you. In Frankfurt, for example, it is hardly possible to avoid a driving ban. A threat to existence must be proven there. In practice this means that the employer has to testify in court that he would dismiss the employee in the event that he loses his driver’s license. These are requirements that are almost impossible to meet and are alien to life. In the Rhineland or Hamburg, on the other hand, it is generally easier to get a driving ban off the table, for example by doubling the fine.
The world: Traffic offenders are generally persecuted particularly relentlessly in Germany?
Lenhart: I would not say that. We are a country of motorists – and wine drinkers. This manifests itself in the fact that we do not have a general speed limit; but also in the fact that – if there are no driving errors or failure symptoms – only a blood alcohol content of 1.1 per mille leads to criminal liability. The control density is also often higher in other countries, for example in Switzerland. And the amount of the fines is rather lower with us than with our neighbors.
The world: Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer (CSU) plans, among other things, as part of the point account form, to extend the repayment periods for entries, in some cases significantly.
Lenhart: I find that absurd. If I lend my car to a neighbor and he drives without a driver’s license, it should be in my register for ten years. That is exaggeratedly disproportionate.
The world: Recently there have been increasing reports of measurement errors in speed measurements. Is it worth it to question the technical correctness of the recording when you get a flash??
Lenhart: In our experience, there is little chance of proving technical errors. But there are a whole host of other reasons why an allegation cannot be used: incorrect operation, an ambiguous assignment to a vehicle, lack of photo documentation or questions about the statute of limitations. When it comes to points or even a driving ban, it pays to make an effort and have everything checked carefully.
The world: What to do if you are accused of transgression?
Lenhart: Speech is silver, silence is gold. People talk too much, they make themselves evidence against themselves. If the status of a driver cannot be determined, the case must be closed. For example, anyone who is reported because their car is parked in the environmental zone without a sticker and then tries to explain in a letter to the fines office why they drove even though they failed to affix the sticker, incriminates themselves. If they had no information done, then the driver could not have been identified; he would have missed a point and a fine. And the general rule is: summons to the police must and should not be obeyed under any circumstances.
The world: Why not?
Lenhart: I advise not to get involved in the reproach and not to explain anything. Do not say anything but your personal details, do not sign anything and ask to have the file sent to you. Then a lawyer can assess the matter professionally. Much can be made worse with an explanation. For example, if someone explains that they were in a hurry, they can use it to double the fine. Because he is thereby admitting his resolution.
The world: What applies in the event of an accident accidentally caused in a parked car??
Lenhart: Anyone who causes damage, no matter how minor, should definitely wait for the injured party or report to the police immediately. Because escaping an accident is punished extremely harshly in Germany; the judiciary makes no difference whether you steal 100 euros or leave a corresponding damage. Very few know of the meaning of the corresponding paragraph. If the external damage is significant – this is the case from around 1400 euros – then the driver’s license is regularly withdrawn for ten to twelve months. Admitting that the damage was not noticed is completely useless and is regularly rejected as part of the free judicial assessment of evidence. Incidentally, the famous little card under the windshield wiper is by no means sufficient.
The world: Can you actually defend yourself if a speed limit is suddenly imposed on a section of the motorway that you drive on regularly??
Lenhart: In practice I have not yet fought such a case, but theoretically it is of course possible to have such an administrative act checked. Indeed, it is true that many limitations – often on the open road – are incomprehensible to normal motorists. And in this context, the sections with constantly changing speeds are to be viewed very critically. You have to constantly pay attention to signs and spend a considerable part of your concentration on internalizing the current limit. This creates a lot of confusion on the streets.
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