“Frenzy is the number one killer on our streets”

The transport ministers of the federal states are arguing about penalties for driving too fast – and are suspending tougher rules for the time being. However, Lower Saxony wants to hold on to it and speaks of many dead.

Traffic at Leipziger Platz in Berlin

Dhe latest tightening of the road traffic regulations (StVO) is not only making drivers sweat, who are driving dangerously fast on local roads. The efforts of Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) to withdraw some of the new sanctions and the discovery of a formal error that suddenly facilitates this lead to a dispute between Scheuer and the state transport ministers – and in the federal government.

Those who drive too fast will be severely punished by the StVO amendment, which has been in force since the end of April: A motorist who exceeds the prescribed maximum speed in town by 21 kilometers per hour or outside the town by 26 kilometers per hour is not only facing a higher fine than before but also a one-month driving ban. It’s not just about speeding in front of schools and kindergartens. Even those who overlook the new Tempo 30 sign on the four-lane main road and are flashed at a speed of 51 will quickly find themselves in the “driver’s license trap”. Scheuer reacted to protests from motorists in mid-May and announced that he wanted to correct the new regulation. “We think the tightening is disproportionate,” he said at the time. “The driving ban should be removed again. We have already approached the federal states who have to agree to it. “

Who is responsible for the mistake?

Some countries quickly signaled Scheuer’s approval, but drivers had to accept the new rules against them in recent weeks. A surprising turning point followed on Thursday: The state transport ministers agreed to put the stricter rules for driving too fast out of action until further notice.

The reason: Due to a formal error – the legal basis for driving bans is not cited – the amendment is null and void. The SPD-led Federal Ministry of Justice sees the blame for this on the CSU-led Ministry of Transport. A spokesman for Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) said the error in the initial formula was not found and criticized because the deadline was too short. The examination was “only carried out cursory and not in the usual depth”.

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Scheuer defended himself against the accusation. “In times of the Corona there were often much shorter deadlines. Now it’s about solutions and not about the past, ”he said on Friday. According to his house, the formal error offers “the chance, together with the correction, to restore the proportionality of the sanctions”.

The Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) said after the switching conference of the state ministers on Thursday that driving bans according to the new catalog of fines would no longer be imposed anywhere for the time being. In most countries the old catalog is used again.

Are penalties suspended now?

The tightening of speed violations only entered the StVO in the spring following a unanimous decision by the federal states. According to his admission, Scheuer had no longer opposed the changes in order to enable the other regulations for the protection of cyclists, pedestrians and rescue workers to come into effect at the end of April.

Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) announced on Friday that he wanted to stick to the tightening: “Frenzy is the number one cause of death on our streets. We should commit ourselves to the welfare of our population and not to that of a few louder lobbyists. ”New administrative offenses, such as a minimum distance of 1.5 meters for drivers when overtaking cyclists, are to be punished in Lower Saxony.

The chairman of the conference of transport ministers, Saarland Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD), said: “The Federal Ministry of Transport must now immediately submit a proposal that creates clarity and legal certainty.” Scheuer had created a “road traffic disorder”. According to reports, around half of the countries are in favor of maintaining the tightening, the other half want to go back to the old rules.

Scheuer had already suggested the first proposals for a compromise in May. After that – if a driving ban is waived after a first violation – the fine for exceeding the speed limit in the village could rise from 80 to 100 euros. Scheuer originally wanted to add the withdrawal of the driving ban to another amendment to the Road Traffic Act, which is due to come in autumn. In view of the new legal uncertainty, there should be talks between the federal and state governments as early as next week in order to find a solution as quickly as possible. It must also be clarified whether and to what extent the other road traffic regulations currently apply.