New traffic regulations 2018

As every year, new provisions and regulations become effective. We have collected the changes for 2018 for you.

Winter tires, vehicle taxes, truck tolls... Here, you can find the latest traffic regulations for 2018. Photo: Fotolia - skatzenberger

Winter tires, vehicle taxes, truck tolls… Here, you can find the latest traffic regulations for 2018. Photo: Fotolia – skatzenberger

Winter- and all-season tires: stricter regulations

Starting on 1st January 2018, any winter- and all-season tires must be equipped with the “Alpine”-symbol – a snow flake in a stylized mountain – to meet the “situational winter tire obligation”. This applies for all newly produced tires from the effective date onward. Up to now, all-season tires with the M+S-symbol and winter tires with the “Alpine”-symbol were sufficient during wintry road conditions. The M+S-tires without the “Alpine”-symbol, produced until 31st December 2017, are allowed to be used until and including 30th September 2024.

If you drive with the wrong tires in future, you may expect a fine of 75 euros and one penalty point in Flensburg instead of 60 euros and one penalty point, according to the catalogue of fines.

Exhaust emission test: Obligatory end pipe testing

Starting at the beginning of 2018, all vehicles – with diesel- as well as gasoline engines – must pass direct testing of the end pipe. That way, defects and deliberate manipulations will be detected more easily, according to the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI).

Until now, these values were tested on many vehicles via electronic readings of the on-board diagnostics. The end pipe was only additionally tested if an error message occurred.

Car insurance: New type- and regional classifications

Car insurance’s type- and regional classifications will be adjusted at the turn of the year, prompting new car insurance rates. They comply with the probability of loss for the different models in different regions. Consequently, the insurance companies categorized every seventh vehicle into a higher type classification compared to the previous year, according to the German Insurance Association (GDV). Especially SUVs and luxury cars are affected (approximately 5.7 million drivers).

Drivers of compact cars (approximately 5.2 million), in particular, fall into a lower classification (13 percent). In contrast, there are no changes for almost three fourths of the overall 39.6 million cars insured by third party liability (73 percent). A fifth of the partially-comprehensively insured models fall into a higher classification, while it becomes cheaper for approximately one third.

Split by regional classifications, 67 vehicle licensing districts in Germany are improved according to the GDV (5.5 million drivers). 41 vehicle licensing districts fall into a disadvantageous regional classification (3.6 million drivers). In 305 vehicle licensing districts (31 million drivers), the “old” regional classifications remain unchanged. Approximately 2.8 million drivers with comprehensive insurance fall into a lower regional classification, 2.6 million into a higher one.

eCall: Obligatory emergency call system

As of April 2018, the automatic emergency call system eCall will become obligatory in all new EU models. eCall shall reduce the number of accidental deaths by ten percent, according to the EU-commission. In case of an accident, eCall automatically establishes a connection to an emergency call center via the European 112-emergency call number – even if the driver and occupants are unconscious. For further information about the emergency call system, click here. 

HGV toll on federal highways

Until now, companies paid toll fees for trucks starting at 7.5 tons, which drove around on approximately 2,300 kilometers of German federal highways. As of July 2018, the obligation to pay tolls will be expanded to almost all federal highways, according to the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) – the federal highways subject to tolls will cover 40,000 kilometers of roads as of the middle of the year.

 Recalculation of vehicle taxes

As of 1st September 2018, vehicle tax for new car models with new type approval are being calculated anew. This is due to the test method WLTP-Norm (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure), which was implemented in September 2017, following the previous testing method NEFZ. During exhaust measurements, the new testing method yields more realistic and therefore higher CO2-values. This is reflected in a higher vehicle tax.

General inspection for cars with a “pink badge”

Attention, don’t forget! If you still have a pink badge, you need to get a general inspection done in 2018. The small number at the top edge of the badge indicates the month. If you get the general inspection done too late, you’ll end up paying: at two to four months tardiness, you’ll pay a 15 euro fine, according to the catalogue of fines, and 25 euros for four to eight months. Overdrawing more than eight months results in 60 euros, including a penalty point in Flensburg.

Vignettes 2018: The toll-road stickers are now also available online

As of 1st December 2017, drivers are already able to use the yearly vignettes 2018 for Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. The yearly vignettes 2017 are still valid until and including 31st January 2018. Drivers in Austria have been able to buy a digital vignette since November. To begin with, it will only be available via the road operating company ASFINAG.

For current vignette prices and more information, click here.

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