(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ANSBACH, Germany (May 1, 2020) --Strassenverkehrsordnungnovelle is the German word that describes the latest changes in German traffic law that went into effect April 28, 2020, and includes penalty increases, changes of urban traffic rules, and new traffic signs.

Speeders will face an 80 euro fine, as well as a one month driver’s license suspension if they are caught exceeding the speed limit by 21 km/h in town or 26 km/h (70 euro) outside town.

Speeding or erratic, careless and inattentive driving incidents account for most of the accident cases that are seen within the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach, said Maj. Adrian Foster, USAG Ansbach Director of Emergency Services.

“That is why it is extremely important we remain attentive, safe, and deliberate in our actions when operating any vehicle within the garrison or on German roadways,” he said. “Drivers should also be aware that a U.S. Forces Certificate of License or military issued license may be temporarily suspended, indefinitely revoked, or traffic points assessed for failing to obey Host Nation laws or operate in a safe manner.”

Most drastic are changes to keep a so called “rescue alley” open while in traffic. Drivers who do not pull over to the far left and the far right side of the roads in order to form an alley for passing emergency vehicles risk a fine of 200 euro. If one tries to follow an emergency vehicle driving through a rescue alley, it will cost 240 euros plus a one month suspension.

“I was aware of the emergency lane law, and fully support it,” said Cpt. Alan Keefer, USAG Ansbach Operations. “I wish American states would adopt similar laws for emergency lanes. Prior to joining the Army, I was a firefighter and we covered 10 miles of interstate in case of emergencies. We routinely needed to fight through interstate traffic to get to an accident scene. Laws like this would help cut response times and potentially save lives.”

Unauthorized stopping on a street, double-parking, and parking on bicycle lanes, pedestrian walkways, protected zones or handicapped parking will be at minimum a 55 euro fine and could cost up to 100 euros. Illegal parking in narrow streets or within 8 meters of a sharp curve will now cost 35 euros, more than double from the previous 15 euro fine.

Various changes are based on the increased bicycle traffic, especially in urban areas and include such changes as the introduction of a green turn arrow for cyclists, prohibiting cars to stop in bike lanes marked by a line alongside the street, dedicated bicycle zones similar to bicycle roads with a maximum speed of 30 km/h, and the permission for bicycles to ride side by side if they do not hinder traffic. Cyclists are allowed to transport passengers, provided they are equipped for people transportation and the driver is at least 16 years old.

Important for the safety of bicyclists is the new no-passing of bicycles and motorcycles rule in narrow areas. One way streets may also be opened up for bicycle traffic, if safe.

The new German traffic rules also spell out that unnecessary noise and exhaust emissions, so-called “auto posing”, will be more expensive. In the future, instead of 20 euros, up to 100 euros could be imposed.

Peter Kleen, Deputy Director of Emergency Services for USAG Ansbach said, “defensive and safe driving, coupled with attention to the surroundings: bikes, scooters, pedestrians, trucks, wild life etc.. is far more important and less costly, not just in fines, but in time, while having to re-attend safety courses, pay for repairs, increased insurance cost etc. than loud music while driving, inattentive driving, speeding or daydreaming.”

Speed camera apps are also prohibited and will cost the driver 75 euros if caught using it.