WITHHundreds of thousands of drivers in Germany are currently unsettled or upset. Because they don’t know what is going on after the new catalog of fines has been put out of operation in early July. Whether driving bans apply or driving licenses are returned, whether fines are enforced or fines that have been illegally paid are actually reimbursed. After the new, significantly tightened catalog of fines, which came into force at the end of April together with the amendment to the Road Traffic Regulations, was overturned due to a formal error, each federal state is taking its own initiative in answering these questions.
In addition to legal issues, this also has to do with the fact that some countries want to maintain the stricter rules, but others would rather return to the old catalog of fines. Because under the new regulation, driving licenses may be withdrawn if driving 21 km per hour too quickly in urban areas and 26 km / h outside the city. Previously, the limits were over 31 km / h in town and 41 km / h outside. And the penalties for exceeding the speed limit are twice as high according to the new, now suspended catalog.
Stop on Thursday
The state of Brandenburg has now decided to withdraw faulty driving bans and to return driving licenses that have already been handed in “immediately”. In addition, fines do not have to be paid for legally binding notices for the time being. Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) had the execution stopped on Thursday with immediate effect.
With this, Brandenburg does away with an agreement between the states. A week ago, on July 13, the countries decided in a conference call at departmental level that driving bans would be reviewed and lifted, and driving licenses could be returned. However, it was also decided at the same time that legally binding fines issued under the new ordinance will be enforced. Notices become final if no objection has been lodged within two weeks.
Stübgen: understanding of people’s anger
But the agreement no longer allows Stübgen to apply to Brandenburg. Citizens had “quite rightly the right to the state to act legally properly,” he said on Thursday. He therefore had “complete understanding of the anger of the people about the big mess that was brought about by the change in the fine.” That is why Brandenburg “now turn all rules back to the status before the change”.
In Brandenburg, according to the Ministry of the Interior, the police found 196,000 times that the car was traveling too fast from the beginning of May to the end of June, fines proceedings were initiated in around 55,000 cases and a driving ban was imposed in 17,000 cases. With the regulation that has now been announced, the country is foregoing about two million euros. But Potsdam is of the opinion that this money is actually not due to the state. And, according to information from the FAZ, consideration is being given to collecting the notices of fines that were imposed under the new ordinance because this is legally the only viable option. A corresponding regulation is currently being examined and could be announced at the beginning of the week. In all cases, fines would only be imposed according to the old rules.
Potsdam is aware that the political price could be high if it were done differently. Because that would mean that citizens who, based on the rule of law, did not object to the decision to impose fines under the overruled regulation, would ultimately have to pay extra. Such regulations create resentment and annoyance about “those up there”.
The CDU minister Stübgen is committed to the fight against right-wing extremism, he supports the decision of his constitutional protection to have the AfD state association under the extremist Andreas Kalbitz. Decisions that are not understandable for citizens play into the hands of the AfD. It was no coincidence that Stübgen said that it was “important for the whole matter that things were fair”. In the state election in Brandenburg last September, the AfD had become the second strongest force in the Potsdam state parliament with 23.5 percent.
Scheuer does not manage to arrange the patchwork
So far there is a patchwork in dealing with the catalog of fines. In some countries, the administrations themselves take action to return their driver’s licenses to citizens. In others, citizens have to apply for it themselves. The Federal Ministry of Transport under Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) has so far failed to provide a uniform regulation.
Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) warned over the weekend of a quick solution in view of the disaster in dealing with the catalog of fines. “I think we have to come to an agreement very quickly. Legal certainty must be created, ”she told the SWR. Stübgen had said on Thursday: “With regard to the fine notices that are already legally binding, we are still struggling to find a fair, uniform solution.” Brandenburg could now trigger a chain reaction with its advance, so that other countries are forced to follow this example .