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Source: Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure

Improved road safety through a clear set of regulations

On 1 May 2014, the new "Register of Driver Fitness" will replace the Central Register of Traffic Offenders in Flensburg. It will record road users who endanger themselves and others by violating the rules of the road. This new driver fitness assessment system is designed to motivate road users to improve their driving behaviour.

The new rules are simpler and more transparent. The "Register of Driver Fitness" will record only offences that have an immediate effect on road safety.

Only three categories

Three categories for offences are sufficient to rate the road safety risk. Offences classified as "serious" will carry one penalty point. Offences classified as very serious and which usually result in disqualification for a fixed period and criminal offences will carry two penalty points. Criminal offences that result in withdrawal of the offender's driving licence will carry three penalty points.

Fixed expiry periods

The rules governing expiry periods for recorded offences will become simpler. The deferred removal of penalty points has been abolished which means that a new offence committed no longer results in an old offence remaining stored on the system for a longer period.

Penalty points will be incurred starting on the day on which an offence is committed and will remain the basis for calculating the number of points accumulated until the end of the expiry period for the offence in question. The expiry period for all offences will begin the day on which the administrative fine order or the judgement becomes final. Serious fixed penalty offences (1 penalty point) will expire after 2.5 years. Very serious fixed penalty offences and criminal offences that do not result in withdrawal of the offender's driving licence (2 penalty points) will expire after 5 years. Criminal offences that result in withdrawal of the offender's driving licence (3 penalty points) will expire after 10 years.

Three levels of measures

The system continues to have three levels of measures.

When 1 to 3 penalty points have been accumulated, a preliminary record will be made. The offender will be informed with an administrative fine order.

When an offender accumulates 4 to 5 penalty points they will reach the first level. The driver licensing authority will then issue a warning and inform the driver of the levels of measures. Offenders in the first level who attend a driver fitness course voluntarily will have one penalty point deducted from their record.

When an offender accumulates 6 or 7 penalty points they will reach the second level. They will receive a caution and a notice that their driving licence will be withdrawn if they reach the next level. In this case, too, the offender can choose to attend a driver fitness course. However, at this level, they will not have any penalty points deducted from their record.

When an offender accumulates 8 or more penalty points they will reach the third level. They will have their driving licence withdrawn, but only if a warning and a caution had been issued before. They may pass through the levels several times if, in the meanwhile, their penalty points have been removed from the register.

The new driver fitness course

To improve road user behaviour, a new driver fitness course will be introduced which combines elements of traffic education and traffic psychology. Participation is voluntary. A penalty point will only be deducted from the record of a participating road user who has accumulated five points or less.

What will happen with the penalty points accumulated so far?

Old penalty points will be carried over to the new system. Here, the level of measure reached plays a crucial role, so that nobody is worse off or better off under the new arrangement. There will be no general remission of penalty points. On 1 May 2014, only points that are no longer registered in the new system will be deleted.

The same day, the Federal Motor Transport Authority will convert the penalty points accumulated to that day into the new system. However, old points will maintain their old expiry period and the already initiated deferred removal of penalty points for a transitional period of five years. Once the period for old points has expired, the old penalty point will be removed from the total number of penalty points accumulated. Then, the reduced total number of old penalty points accumulated will be converted to the new system.

Other changes

As from 1 May 2014, minor offences can be penalized with a fixed penalty fine not exceeding 55 euros. As a consequence, penalty points will be issued only if an offence carries a fine of 60 euros or more. Therefore, there will be an increase in the standard rate for fines for offences which are a risk to road safety and for which penalty points are to continue to be issued. Other standard rates for fines will also increase for offences which will no longer be penalized with penalty points but which are relevant for the regulatory system for transport.

Further information

You can request information on the current status of your penalty points from the Federal Motor Transport Authority free of charge. You will find a request form on www.kba.de which you can fill in using the new identity card.

Your local driver licensing authority can provide more information on the various levels of measures.

Legal advice on a case by case basis can only be provided by a lawyer.