Long Title: Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung
In the version of 6 March 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 367 ff. Valid as from 1 April 2013) as last amended on 30 November 2016 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2848. Valid as from 14 December 2016).
General traffic rules
Section 1 Basic rules
(1) Use of the road requires constant care and mutual respect.
(2) A person using the road shall act in such a way as not to harm or endanger or, more than is unavoidable in the circumstances, to hinder or inconvenience any other person.
Section 2 Use of the road by vehicles
(1) Vehicles must use the carriageways; on dual carriageways they must use the right-hand carriageway. Verges do not constitute part of the carriageway.
(2) Drivers and riders must always keep as far to the right as possible, not only when traffic is approaching from the opposite direction, when being overtaken, when approaching the brow of a hill, on bends or when their view ahead is obstructed.
(3) Vehicles travelling on or beside the tracks of a railway, tramway, etc., must let the latter pass if possible.
(3a) When roads are slippery due to freezing rain, packed snow, slush, black ice or hoar frost, a motor vehicle may not be operated unless it is fitted with tyres that have the characteristics described in Annex II, paragraph 2.2 of Council Directive 92/23/EEC of 31 March 1992 relating to tyres for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting (OJ L 129, 14.5.1992, p. 95), as amended by Directive 2005/11/EC (OJ L 46, 17.2.2005, p. 42) (snow tyres). Category M2, M3, N2 and N3 motor vehicles, as defined in Annex XXIX to the German Road Vehicles Registration and Licensing Regulations, as amended on 26 April 2012 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 679), may also be operated during such weather conditions if snow tyres are fitted only to the wheels of their drive axles. The first sentence does not apply to commercial vehicles used for agricultural and forestry purposes or to emergency vehicles operated by the organizations referred to in section 35(1) if no snow tyres are available for these vehicles due to their design. If visibility is less than 50 metres or if the roads are slippery due to packed snow or black ice, persons operating vehicles carrying dangerous goods subject to marking requirements must not endanger any other person; if necessary, they must pull into the next suitable place for parking.
(4) Pedal cyclists must ride in single file; they may only ride two or more abreast if this does not obstruct traffic. They are not obliged to use cycle tracks in their direction of travel unless this is indicated by sign 237, 240 or 241. Right-hand cycle tracks without sign 237, 240 or 241 may be used. Left-hand cycle tracks without sign 237, 240 or 241 may not be used unless this is indicated by the supplementary standalone sign with the legend “Radverkehr frei” (“for use by cyclists”). In addition, pedal cyclists may use right-hand verges if there are no cycle tracks and pedestrians are not obstructed. Riders of motor-assisted bicycles and e-bikes may use cycle tracks outside built-up areas.
(5) Children under eight years of age must use the footway for cycling; children under ten years of age may use the footway for cycling. If there is a cycle track physically separated from the carriageway, children under eight years of age may, by derogation from the first sentence, also use this cycle track. If a child under eight years of age is accompanied by a suitable responsible older person, the latter may also cycle on the footway while they are accompanying the child; a responsible person is especially suitable if they are at least 16 years of age. Particular consideration must be shown towards pedestrians. Pedestrians must be neither endangered nor impeded. If necessary, speed must be adapted to that of the pedestrians. Before crossing a carriageway, the children and the responsible person accompanying them must dismount.
Section 3 Speed
(1) A person operating a vehicle may only travel at a speed that allows them to be in constant control of their vehicle. In particular, they must adjust their speed to road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions as well as to their personal abilities and to the nature of their vehicle and its load. If, owing to fog, snowfall or rain, visibility is less than 50 metres, they must not travel faster than 50 kph; where circumstances so require, they must travel at a lower speed. Their speed must be such that they can stop within their forward range of vision. However, on carriageways that are so narrow that oncoming vehicles may be endangered, they must slow down so that they are able to stop within at least half of their range of forward vision.
(2) No motor vehicle must, without good reason, travel so slowly as to impede the flow of traffic.
(2a) The behaviour of persons operating vehicles towards children, persons in need of help and elderly persons must be such as to prevent any endangerment of these road users, especially by reducing their speed and being ready to brake.
(3) The maximum permissible speed, even in the most favourable circumstances, is:
- 50 kph for all motor vehicles within built-up areas;
- outside built-up areas:
a) 80 kph for
aa) motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, with the exception of passenger cars;
bb) passenger cars towing a trailer;
cc) goods vehicles and motor homes, in both cases with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, towing a trailer;
dd) buses and coaches, also when towing a luggage trailer;
b) 60 kph for
aa) motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes;
bb) all motor vehicles towing a trailer, with the exception of passenger cars, goods vehicles and motor homes with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes in each case;
cc) buses and coaches carrying passengers who have to stand because all the seats are taken;
c ) 100 kph for passenger cars as well as other motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes.
This speed limit does not apply on motorways (sign 330.1) and other roads with carriageways separated by a central reservation or other structures. Nor does it apply on roads with at least two lanes for each direction marked by a centre line (sign 295) or by lane markings (sign 340).
(4) The maximum permissible speed for motor vehicles fitted with snow chains is 50 kph, even in the most favourable circumstances.
Section 4 Distance
(1) A person operating a vehicle moving behind another vehicle must, as a rule, keep a sufficient distance from that other vehicle so as to be able to pull up safely even if it suddenly slows down or stops. The person operating the vehicle in front must not brake suddenly without a compelling reason.
(2) Outside built-up areas, a person operating a motor vehicle that is subject to a special speed limit, as well as a person operating a combination of vehicles of more than 7 metres overall length, must always keep such a distance from the motor vehicle in front that an overtaking motor vehicle can move back to the right-hand side of the road. This does not apply:
- if they pull out for the purpose of overtaking and have indicated their intention to do so;
- if there is more than one lane in the direction of traffic;
- on sections of road where overtaking is prohibited.
(3) On motorways, a person operating a goods vehicle with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes or a bus/coach must, if their speed is more than 50 kph, keep a distance of at least 50 metres from vehicles in front.
Section 5 Overtaking
(1) Persons wishing to overtake must do so on the left.
(2) They may overtake only if they can see that, during the entire overtaking manoeuvre, they will in no way impede oncoming traffic. Furthermore, they may overtake only if they travel at a speed substantially higher than that of the vehicle to be overtaken.
(3) Overtaking is not permitted:
- if the traffic situation is not clear;
- where it is prohibited by a traffic sign (sign 276, 277).
(3a) Notwithstanding any other prohibitions of overtaking, a person operating a motor vehicle with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes must not overtake if, owing to fog, snowfall or rain, visibility is less than 50 metres.
(4) A person who intends to pull out for overtaking must make sure that traffic approaching from behind is not endangered. During overtaking, a sufficient lateral distance must be kept from other road users, particularly pedestrians and pedal cyclists. A person who is overtaking must move back to the right-hand side of the road as soon as possible. A person is who is overtaking must not impede the vehicle being overtaken.
(4a) The intention of pulling out to overtake and of moving back to the right-hand side of the road are to be signalled clearly and in good time, using the vehicle’s direction indicators to do so.
(5) Outside built-up areas, the intention to overtake may be indicated by short horn or headlight flasher signals. If a flasher signal is given, persons operating oncoming vehicles must not be dazzled.
(6) A person driving a vehicle that is being overtaken must not increase the vehicle’s speed. A person driving a slow-moving vehicle must reduce the vehicle’s speed at a suitable place and, if necessary, wait if this is the only way to allow several vehicles immediately behind it to overtake. A suitable verge may also be used for this manoeuvre; this is not, however, permissible on motorways.
(7) A person who has indicated their intention to turn left, and has properly filtered into a position to do so, is to be overtaken on the right. Rail-borne vehicles are to be overtaken on the right. If this is not possible because the rails are situated too far to the right, these vehicles may be overtaken on the left. On one-way carriageways, railborne vehicles may also be overtaken on the left.
(8) Where sufficient space is available, riders of pedal cycles and motor-assisted bicycles may overtake, at moderate speed and with special care, vehicles waiting in the nearside lane on their right-hand side.
Section 6 Passing
A person who wishes to pass to the left of a road narrowing, an obstacle on the carriageway or a stationary vehicle must allow oncoming vehicles to pass through. The first sentence does not apply if priority is regulated differently by traffic signs (sign 208, 308). If they have to pull out, they must observe traffic approaching from behind and indicate their intention of pulling out and of moving back to the right-hand side of the road again, in the same way as if they were overtaking.
Section 7 Use of lanes by motor vehicles
(1) On carriageways with several lanes for one direction, motor vehicles may ignore the requirement to keep as far to the right as possible (section 2(2)) if traffic density justifies them doing so. “Lane” means that part of the carriageway which a vehicle with more than two wheels requires for travelling freely along the carriageway.
(2) If the density of traffic has resulted in queues of vehicles in the lanes of one carriageway, traffic on the right (nearside lane, middle lane) may move faster than traffic on the left (offside lane, middle lane).
(2a) If, on a carriageway for one direction of traffic, a vehicle queue has formed and come to a standstill or is moving at low speed in the left-hand lane, vehicles may overtake this queue on the right at a slightly higher speed and with the utmost care.
(3) On carriageways with several marked lanes for one direction of traffic (sign 296 or 340) within built-up areas – with the exception of motorways (sign 330.1) –, motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes are free to choose their lane, even if the conditions specified in the first sentence of subsection (1) do not obtain. In this case, traffic on the right may move faster than traffic on the left.
(3a) If, on a carriageway for traffic in both directions, a total of three lanes are marked by lane markings (sign 340), the left-hand lane, which is solely for the use of oncoming traffic, and the middle lane must not be used for overtaking. The same applies to carriageways on which a total of five lanes for both directions are marked by lane markings (sign 340); in this case, the two left-hand lanes, which are solely for the use of oncoming traffic, and the middle lane must not be used for overtaking. A person wishing to turn left may move to the middle lane in the direction of travel if there are a total of three or five lanes for both directions.
(3b) On carriageways for both directions of traffic with four lanes marked by lane markings (sign 340), the two left-hand lanes in the direction of travel are solely for the use of oncoming traffic; they must not be used for overtaking. The same applies on six-lane carriageways to the three left-hand lanes in the direction of travel.
(3c) If, outside built-up areas, three lanes for one direction of traffic are marked by sign 340, motor vehicles may, in derogation from the rule that they must keep as far to the right as possible, use, and continue in, the middle lane in places where – even if only now and then – a vehicle is stationary or moving in the nearside lane. On carriageways with more than three lanes marked in this way for one direction of traffic, the same applies to the second lane from the right. Outside built-up areas, goods vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes as well as all vehicles towing a trailer may use the left-hand lane only if they change to this lane for the purpose of turning left.
(4) If, on roads with several lanes for one direction, uninterrupted travel in one of the lanes is not possible, or if a lane comes to an end, vehicles travelling in the adjacent lane must allow vehicles in the other lane to change lanes immediately before the road narrows, in such a way as to let them join their line of traffic in turn after each vehicle travelling in the uninterrupted lane (“zip-merging”).
(5) In all cases, lanes may only be changed if other road users are not endangered. Any change of lane must be signalled clearly and in good time, using the vehicle’s direction indicators to do so.
Section 7a Diverging lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes
(1) Where lanes diverge from the main carriageway, especially on motorways and motor roads, vehicles turning off may, from the beginning of and to the right of a lane marking with broad lines (sign 340), travel faster than traffic on the main carriageway.
(2) On motorways and other roads outside built-up areas, vehicles may travel faster in acceleration lanes than traffic on the main carriageway.
(3) In deceleration lanes, vehicles must not travel faster than traffic on the main carriageway. If traffic on the main carriageway is moving slowly or is stationary, vehicles in a deceleration lane may overtake at a moderate speed and with great care.
Section 8 Right of way
(1) At intersections and junctions, vehicles coming from the right have the right of way. This does not apply:
- if the right of way is specially regulated by traffic signs (sign 205, 206, 301, 306); or
- to vehicles entering the road from an earth track or forest path.
(1a) If, at the approach to a roundabout, sign 215 (roundabout) is placed below sign 205 (give way), traffic on the roundabout has the right of way. Use of the direction indicators is not permitted when entering such a roundabout.
(2) A person who has to give way must clearly and in good time show, by means of appropriate driving behaviour, especially by reducing their speed, that they are going to wait. They may only proceed if they can see that they will neither endanger nor substantially impede a road user who has the right of way. If they are unable to see this because the intersection or junction has limited visibility, they may carefully advance onto the intersection or junction until they have a clear view. Nor must a road user who is obliged to give way substantially impede a road user who has the right of way when the latter turns into the other road.
Section 9 Turning off, turning round (U-turns) and reversing
(1) A person wishing to turn off must clearly and in good time indicate their intention, using their direction indicators to do so. A person wishing to turn right must take up a position as far to the right as possible; a person wishing to turn left must, in good time, take up a position in the middle of the road, and on one-way carriageways as far as to the left as possible. A person wishing to turn left may only take up a position on rails running parallel to the road if they do not impede a rail-borne vehicle. Before taking up the correct position and once again before turning, attention must be paid to traffic approaching from behind; this is not necessary before turning in cases where traffic approaching from behind cannot be endangered.
(2) Pedal cyclists wishing to turn left do not need take up a position on the left if they intend to cross the carriageway after the intersection or junction from the right-hand edge of the carriageway. When crossing, they must pay attention to vehicles approaching from both directions. Pedal cyclists using cycle facilities to turn off must follow them when crossing the intersection or junction.
(3) A person wishing to turn off must allow oncoming vehicles to pass; they must allow rail-borne vehicles, motorized cycles and pedal cycles to pass even when they are travelling in the same direction on or alongside the carriageway. This also applies to regular service buses and other vehicles using dedicated lanes marked as such. Special consideration must be shown towards pedestrians; if necessary, vehicles must wait.
(4) A person wishing to turn left must first allow oncoming traffic intending to turn right to pass. Vehicles approaching from opposite directions and both wishing to turn left must do so in front of each other, unless the traffic situation or the design of the intersection requires the vehicles turning left to do so after they have passed each other.
(5) When turning into a property, making a U-turn or reversing, a person operating a vehicle must, in addition, ensure that no other road users are endangered; if necessary, they must ask another person to give them directions.
Section 10 Entering the road and moving off
A person who intends to enter a road from a property, from a pedestrian zone (signs 242.1 and 242.2) or from a traffic-calmed area (signs 325.1 and 325.2) or to enter the carriageway from other parts of the road or over a lowered kerb or who intends to move off from the edge of the carriageway must do so in such a way as not to endanger any other road users; if necessary, they must ask another person to give them directions. They must clearly and in good time signal their intention to enter the road or to move off, using their direction indicators to do so. In places where clarification is necessary, sign 205 may be installed.
Section 11 Special traffic situations
(1) If traffic is moving slowly, vehicles must not enter an intersection or junction, even if they have the right of way or the traffic lights are green, if by doing so they would be forced to wait there.
(2) As soon as vehicles on motorways and roads outside a built-up area with at least two lanes for one direction start to move at walking pace or come to a standstill, these vehicles must leave a gap for one direction between the lane on the far left and the lane immediately adjacent to it on the right to allow police and emergency vehicles to pass.
(3) Moreover, anyone who, according to traffic rules, may proceed or otherwise has the right of way must relinquish this priority if the traffic situation so requires; a person not having the right of way may proceed only if the person having the right of way has signalled to them to do so.
Section 12 Stopping and parking
(1) Stopping is not permitted:
- on sections of road that are narrow and where visibility is restricted;
- near or on sharp bends;
- on acceleration and deceleration lanes;
- on level crossings;
- in front of and on officially marked access roads for fire engines;
(2) A person who leaves their vehicle or stops for more than three minutes shall be deemed to be parking.
(3) Parking is not permitted:
- before and after intersections and junctions up to a distance of 5 metres from the intersection points of the carriageway edges;
- where it would block access to marked parking spaces;
- in front of entrances to and exits from properties bordering on the road; on narrow roads also opposite such entrances and exits;
- over manhole covers and other such covers, where parking on the footway is permitted by sign 315 or by marked parking spaces (Annex 2, number 74);
- in front of dropped kerbs.
(3a) Regular parking of motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes and trailers with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 2 tonnes within built-up areas
- in exclusively or generally residential areas,
- in special areas serving recreational purposes,
- in health resorts and
- in the surroundings of hospitals
is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. as well as on Sundays and public holidays. This does not apply to appropriately marked car parks or to the parking of regular service buses at their terminus.
(3b) Trailers without a towing vehicle must not be parked for more than two weeks. This does not apply to appropriately marked car parks.
(4) For parking, the verge on the right-hand side, including parking lanes provided along the carriageway, must be used if it is sufficiently stabilized; otherwise vehicles must move to the right-hand edge of the carriageway. As a rule, this also applies to persons who only want to stop; at any rate, they too must keep to the right of the right-hand side of the carriageway. Taxis may, if the traffic situation permits them to do so, pick up or set down passengers alongside other vehicles that have stopped or are parked on the verge or the right-hand edge of the carriageway. Where there are rails on the right-hand side and in the case of one-way streets (sign 220), stopping and parking on the left-hand side is permitted. Stopping is not permitted within the swept path of rail-borne vehicles.
(4a) Where parking on the footway is permitted, only the right-hand footway, in oneway streets the right-hand or the left-hand footway, is to be used for this purpose.
(5) At a parking gap, the person who arrives there first has priority; they retain this priority if they pass the gap in order to reverse into it or if they make any other manoeuvres to pull into the gap. The first sentence applies mutatis mutandis if the person is waiting at a parking gap that is being vacated.
(6) Vehicles must be parked in such a way that they take up as little space as possible; as a rule, this also applies to stopping.
Section 13 Equipment for monitoring parking time
(1) Parking at parking meters is permitted only while the meter is in operation; at parking ticket machines it is permitted only with a pay-and-display ticket, which must be displayed on or in the vehicle so as to be clearly legible from outside; in both cases parking is allowed during the permissible parking time.
If a parking meter or a parking ticket machine is not in working order, parking is only allowed up to the maximum parking time indicated. In this case, a parking disc is to be used (para. 2 of the first sentence of subsection (2)). The parking time rules may be restricted to certain hours or days.
(2) If, in a no waiting zone (signs 290.1 and 290.2) or a parking management zone (signs 314.1 and 314.2) or on signs 314 or 315, the use of a parking disc is required by a supplementary sign (Fig. 318). stopping and parking are only permitted:
- during the time indicated on the supplementary sign;
- if a clearly legible parking disc is displayed within the vehicle and the indicator of the disc is pointing to the half hour that follows the time of arrival.
If parking meters or parking ticket machines have been installed in a no waiting zone or a parking management zone, the instructions given on them apply. This is without prejudice to the provisions governing the prohibitions of stopping and parking.
(3) The equipment for monitoring parking time referred to in subsections (1) and (2) does not have to be operated if parking charges can be paid or parking time monitored by means of electronic equipment or devices, especially personal parking meters or mobile phones. The first sentence does not apply if the electronic equipment or device referred to therein is not in working order.
(4) It is not necessary to operate the equipment or devices for monitoring parking time when:
- picking up or setting down passengers; and
- loading or unloading goods.
Section 14 Obligation to take care when getting into or out of a vehicle
(1) A person getting into or out of a vehicle must do so in such a way as not to endanger any other road users.
(2) A person operating a vehicle must take the necessary measures to avoid accidents or traffic disruption when leaving the vehicle. Motor vehicles must also be secured against unauthorized use.
Section 15 Vehicle breakdowns
If a vehicle with more than two wheels breaks down at a place where it cannot be recognized in time as a stationary obstacle, the hazard warning lights must be switched on immediately. Subsequently, at least one clearly visible warning sign must be put up at a sufficient distance – in the case of fast-moving traffic at a distance of about 100 metres; prescribed safety devices such as warning triangles are to be used. In addition, the provisions governing the lighting of stationary vehicles apply.
Section 15a Vehicle towing
(1) When a vehicle that has broken down on a motorway is towed away, the motorway (sign 330.1) must be left at the next exit. (2) When towing away a vehicle that has broken down on another road, a motorway (sign 330.1) must not be entered.
(2) During the towing operation, the hazard warning lights of both vehicles must be switched on.
(3) Motorcycles must not be towed away.
Section 16 Warning signals
(1) Road users may give audible and light signals only if:
- they are overtaking another vehicle outside a built-up area (section 5(5)); or
- they consider themselves or others to be in danger.
(2) A person operating a regular service bus or a school bus marked as such must switch on the vehicle’s hazard warning lights when approaching a bus stop and for as long as passengers are boarding or alighting if the authority responsible for road traffic under federal state law (road traffic authority) has ordered such a measure for certain bus stops. In all other cases – with the exception of breakdowns (section 15) and vehicles being towed away (section 15a) – road users may switch on their hazard warning lights only if others are endangered by their vehicle or if they want to warn others of any dangers, for instance when approaching a tailback or when driving especially slowly on motorways or other roads where high speeds are permitted.
(3) Audible warning signals must not consist of a sequence of tones of different pitch.
Section 17 Lighting
(1) At dusk, during the hours of darkness and at dawn or when visibility so requires, the lighting devices prescribed must be used. The lighting devices must not be covered by any object or be dirty.
(2) Driving with position lights (sidelights) only is not permitted. Nor is the use of the main beam on continuously and adequately lit roads permitted. Headlights must be dipped in good time when an oncoming vehicle approaches or when travelling closely behind another vehicle or if the safety of traffic on or beside the road so requires. If necessary, speed must be reduced appropriately.
(2a) Motorcyclists must also use dipped headlights or switch on their daytime running lights during the hours of daylight. At dusk, during the hours of darkness and at dawn or when visibility so requires, dipped headlights must be used.
(3) If visibility is seriously reduced owing to fog, snowfall or rain, dipped headlights must also be used during the hours of daylight. Fog lights may only be used in such weather. If a vehicle is equipped with two fog lights, the additional use of the position lights (sidelights) instead of dipped headlights is sufficient. Motorcycles without a side-car may use their fog light only. Rear fog lights may be used only if visibility is less than 50 metres due to fog.
(4) Outside built-up areas, stationary vehicles are to be illuminated using their own light source. Within built-up areas, it is sufficient either to illuminate only the side of the vehicle facing the carriageway by means of the vehicle’s parking lights or to mark it in any other permissible way; if the street lighting makes the vehicle clearly visible at a sufficient distance, lighting using the vehicle’s own light source can be dispensed with. Vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, with the exception of passenger cars, and trailers standing on the carriageway within a builtup area must always be illuminated using their own light source or marked by means of other permissible lighting equipment. Vehicles that can be easily removed from the carriageway, such as motorcycles, motorized cycles, pedal cycles, invalid carriages, single-axle tractor units, single-axle trailers, hand carts or unharnessed horse-drawn vehicles, must not be left on the carriageway without lighting during the hours of darkness.
(4a) In the case of military vehicles deviating from the general lighting rules, yellowand-red retroreflecting warning plates or equivalent safety devices are to be used. They may also be used additionally on these vehicles.
(5) Pedestrians operating single-axle tractors or machines or pushing/pulling handcarts must affix to the left-hand side of these vehicles at least one lamp emitting non-dazzling white light that is clearly visible from the front and from behind; this lamp may also be carried by hand.
(6) Spotlights may be used for a short time only and not for the purpose of illuminating the carriageway.
Section 18 Motorways and motor roads (roads for motor vehicles only)
(1) Motorways (sign 330.1) and motor roads (roads for motor vehicles only) (sign 331.1) may be used only by motor vehicles with a maximum design speed of more than 60 kph; the same applies to trailers they are towing. The vehicle and its load, taken together, must not be higher than 4 metres and not wider than 2.55 metres. Refrigerated vehicles must not be wider than 2.6 metres.
(2) Vehicles may join a motorway only at marked junctions (sign 330.1); they may join motor roads only at intersections and three-way junctions.
(3) Traffic on the main carriageway has the right of way.
(5) On motorways within built-up areas, vehicles may travel faster than 50 kph. On these motorways, as well as on motor roads with two carriageways separated by a central reservation or any other structures outside built-up areas, the maximum permissible speed, even under the most favourable circumstances, is:
- 80 kph for
a) motor vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, with the exception of passenger cars;
b) passenger cars towing a trailer, goods vehicles towing a trailer, motor homes towing a trailer and tractor units towing a trailer; and
c) buses and coaches without a trailer or towing a luggage trailer;
- 60 kph for
a) motorcycles towing a trailer and self-propelled machines towing a trailer;
b) tractor units towing two trailers; and
c) buses and coaches towing a trailer or carrying passengers who have to stand because all the seats are taken;
- 100 kph for motor coaches and buses without a trailer:
a) which, according to the entry in Part I of their registration certificate, are permitted to travel at a maximum speed of 100 kph;
b) which are constructed principally for the carriage of seated passengers and in which the passenger seats are designed as coach-style seating;
c) which are fitted with seat belts on all seats and on wheelchair spaces if they are used for the carriage of wheelchair users;
d) which are fitted with a speed limiter set to a maximum speed of 100 kph (Vset);
e) which meet the requirements of Directive 2001/85/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2001 relating to special provisions for vehicles used for the carriage of passengers comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, and amending Directives 70/156/EEC and 97/27/EC (OJ L 42, 13.2.2002, p. 1) in the version in force at the time of the first registration of the bus or coach in question;
f) which are not fitted with regrooved tyres on their front steering axle; or
g) for buses and coaches not registered in Member States of the European Union or in states parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area if an official certificate can be presented that has been issued by the country of registration in the German language confirming compliance with the aforementioned provisions and confirming that inspections have taken place annually, the scope of which is at least that of Council Directive 96/96/EC of 20 December 1996 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ L 46, 17.2.1997, p. 1), as amended.
(6) Road users using dipped headlights on a motorway need not adjust their speed to the range of their dipped headlights if:
- the rear lights of the motor vehicle in front are clearly visible and a sufficient distance is maintained between the vehicles;
- it is possible to recognize in good time the course of the carriageway thanks to guiding devices provided with reflectors and, together with external light sources, to identify obstacles on the road.
(7) Making U-turns and reversing are prohibited.
(8) Stopping is prohibited, including on verges.
(9) Pedestrians must not enter motorways. They may cross a motor road only at intersections, junctions or other places provided for this purpose; they must not enter these roads at any other places.
(10) Leaving the motorway is permitted only at places marked by the exit sign (sign 332) and by the flag-type sign (sign 333) or by one of these signs. Leaving motor roads is permitted only at intersections or junctions.
(11) If visibility is reduced to 50 metres or less by heavy snowfall or rain, or if there is packed snow or black ice, goods vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes, including their trailers, and tractor units must not use the lane on the far left
Section 19 Level crossings
(1) Rail-borne vehicles have priority:
- at level crossings marked by a St Andrew’s Cross (sign 201);
- at level crossings on footpaths, field paths, forest paths or cycle tracks;
- in port areas and on industrial estates, if a St Andrew’s Cross with the supplementary sign bearing the legend “Hafengebiet, Schienenfahrzeuge haben Vorrang” (port area, rail-borne vehicles have priority) or “Industriegebiet, Schienenfahrzeuge haben Vorrang” (industrial estate, railborne vehicles have priority) has been placed at the entrances.
Road traffic may approach such level crossings only at a moderate speed. A person operating a vehicle must not overtake motor vehicles at level crossings between sign 151 or 156 and the point at which the rails and road cross.
(2) Vehicles must wait in front of the St Andrew’s Cross, and pedestrians must wait at a safe distance in front of the level crossing, if;
- a rail-borne vehicle is approaching;
- a red light is flashing or an amber or red light signal shows;
- the barriers are being lowered or are closed;
- a railway official signals road users to stop; or
- an audible signal, such as the whistle of an approaching train, is sounded.
If the flashing red light or red light signal takes the shape of an arrow, only road users wishing to head in the direction of the arrow have to wait. A bell may indicate that the barriers are about to be lowered.
(3) If, due to slow-moving traffic, a level crossing cannot be crossed speedily and without stopping, road users must wait in front of the St Andrew’s Cross.
(4) Persons using a footpath, field path, forest path or cycle track must act accordingly at level crossings not marked by a St Andrew’s Cross.
(5) At level crossings where rail-borne vehicles do not have priority, road users must wait at a safe distance if a railway official gives a stop sign with a white-red-and-white flag or a red lamp. If amber or red light signals show, section 37(2)(1) applies mutatis mutandis.
(6) The headlights of waiting motor vehicles must not dazzle any other persons.
Section 20 Public transport vehicles and school buses
(1) Regular service buses, trams and school buses marked as such which are waiting at stops (sign 224) may be passed only very carefully; this also applies to traffic coming from the opposite direction.
(2) If passengers are boarding or alighting, the public transport vehicle may be passed on the right-hand side only at walking pace and only at such a distance as to rule out any danger to the passengers. Nor must they be impeded. If necessary, a person operating a vehicle must wait.
(3) Regular service buses and school buses marked as such which are approaching a stop (sign 224) and have switched on their hazard warning lights must not be overtaken.
(4) Regular service buses and school buses marked as such which are waiting at stops (sign 224) and have switched on their hazard warning lights may be passed only at walking pace and only at such a distance as to rule out any danger to the passengers. Traffic moving in the opposite direction on the same carriageway must also pass the vehicle at walking pace. Nor must passengers be impeded. If necessary, a person operating a vehicle must wait.
(5) Regular service buses and school buses must be allowed to pull away from bus stops marked as such. If necessary, other vehicles must wait.
(6) Persons intending to use public transport vehicles must wait on the footway, on the verge or on a traffic island serving as a public transport stop, otherwise at the edge of the carriageway.
Section 21 Carriage of passengers
(1) The number of passengers carried by a motor vehicle must not exceed the number of seats equipped with seat belts. In derogation from the first sentence, motor vehicles for which seat belts are not required by law for all seats may carry as many passengers as the number of seats available. The first and second sentences do not apply to buses and coaches that are permitted to carry standing passengers. It is prohibited to carry passengers:
- on motorcycles without a special seat;
- on tractor units without proper seating; or
- in trailer caravans being towed by motor vehicles.
(1a) Children under twelve years of age and less than 150 cm tall may be carried in motor vehicles on seats for which seat belts are required by law only if child restraint systems are used which meet the requirements referred to in Article (2)(1)(c) of Council Directive 91/671/EEC of 16 December 1991 on the compulsory use of safety belts and the compulsory use of child restraint systems (OJ L 373, 31.12.1991, p. 26), as amended by Article 1(2) of Directive 2014/37/EC (OJ L 59, 9.5.2003, p. 32) and are suitable for the child. Notwithstanding the first sentence,
- the first sentence does not apply to buses and coaches with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes;
- children aged three and over may be restrained on rear seats using the seat belts required by law if it is not possible to fit further child restraints because other children are being restrained using child restraint systems;
- when persons are being carried by
a) taxi or
b) other types of passenger car if there is an obligation to carry within the meaning of section 22 of the Carriage of Passengers Act,
the requirement that, on rear seats, children be restrained by means of officially approved and suitable restraint systems is limited to two children weighing 9 kg or more, and it must at least be possible to restrain one child weighing between 9 and 18 kg; this exemption does not apply if children are carried on a regular basis.
(1b) Children under three years of age must not be carried in vehicles that are not fitted with seat belts. Children aged three and above and less than 150 cm tall travelling in such vehicles must be carried on the rear seat. The first and second sentences do not apply to buses and coaches.
Passengers must not be carried on the load area or in load compartments of a lorry. This does not apply if the passengers being carried on the load area or in load compartments have to carry out work that is necessary there. Nor does it apply to the carriage of construction workers within building sites. The carriage of passengers on the load area or in load compartments of trailers is not permitted. Passengers may, however, be carried on trailers used for agricultural or forestry purposes if they are equipped with suitable seating. Standing while the vehicle is in motion is prohibited unless it is required for the purpose of accompanying the load or carrying out work on the load area.
Persons of at least 16 years of age may carry children under the age of seven on pedal cycles only if the cycle is equipped with special seats for the children and if wheel covers or similar protective devices ensure that the feet of the children cannot get caught in the spokes. Persons of at least 16 years of age may carry up to two children under the age of seven in trailers towed by pedal cycles and suitable for the carriage of children The restriction to children under the age of seven does not apply to the carriage of a disabled child.
Section 21a Seat belts, protective helmets
(1) Seat belts required by law must be worn while a vehicle is in motion. This does not apply to:
- persons engaged in door-to-door operations if they have to regularly leave their vehicle at short intervals within the area in which they are providing their services or delivering goods;
- vehicles travelling at walking pace, e.g. for the purpose of reversing and on car parks;
- persons travelling on buses or coaches that are authorized to carry standing passengers;
- operating personnel on buses and coaches and personnel accompanying groups of persons in need of special care, when performing services that require them to leave their seat;
- passengers on motor coaches or buses with a maximum authorized mass of more than 3.5 tonnes when leaving their seat for a short time.
(2) Persons operating or travelling as a passenger on or in motorcycles or open three or more-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed greater than 20 kph must wear a suitable protective helmet while the vehicle is in motion. This does not apply if they are wearing seat belts required by law.
Section 22 Loads
(1) Loads, including load restraints and loading equipment, are to be stowed and restrained in such a manner that they cannot slip, fall over, roll around, fall off the vehicle or produce avoidable noise, even in an emergency braking situation or if the vehicle swerves suddenly. This must be done in accordance with sound engineering practice.
(2) A vehicle and its load must not be wider than 2.55 metres and not be higher than 4 metres. Vehicles used for agricultural or forestry purposes must, when loaded with agricultural or forestry products or equipment, not be wider than 3 metres, including the load. If they are loaded with agricultural or forestry products, they may be higher than 4 metres, including the load. Refrigerated vehicles must not be wider than 2.6 metres.
(3) Up to a height of 2.5 metres, the load must not project beyond the front of the vehicle or, in the case of combinations of vehicles, beyond the front of the towing vehicle. In all other cases, the load may project 50 cm beyond the front of the vehicle or, in the case of combinations of vehicles, 50 cm beyond the front of the towing vehicle.
(4) The load may project beyond the rear of the vehicle up to a length of 1.5 metres; in transport operations over distances of up to 100 km, however, up to a length of 3 metres; journeys made outside the territory covered by the present Regulations are not taken into account. Vehicles or combinations of vehicles must not be longer than 20.75 metres, including the load. If the extreme end of the load projects more than 1 metre beyond the rear reflectors of the vehicle, it is to be made conspicuous by at least
- one bright red flag not less than 30 x 30 cm in size and kept straight by a cross-bar;
- one light red sign of the same size hanging at right angles to the direction of travel; or
- one vertically attached cylindrical body of the same colour and length with a diameter of at least 35 cm.
These safety devices must be affixed to the load not higher than 1.5 metres above the carriageway. If necessary (section 17(1)), at least one red lamp is to be affixed at the same place and, in addition, a red reflector not higher than 90 cm above the ground.
(5) If the load, at the sides, projects more than 40 cm beyond the lights of the vehicle or, in the case of motor vehicles, beyond the extreme edge of the illuminating surface of the position lights (sidelights) or rear lights, it is to be made conspicuous, if necessary (section 17(1)), at the sides not more than 40 cm from its outer edge and not more than 1.5 metres above the carriageway, to the front by a lamp emitting a white and to the rear by a lamp emitting a red light. Individual bars or poles, horizontally placed slabs and other poorly visible objects must not project at the sides.
Section 23 Other obligations of persons operating vehicles
(1) A person operating a vehicle is responsible for ensuring that their view is not obstructed and their hearing is not impaired by the passengers, animals, the load, equipment or the condition of their vehicle. They must also ensure that their vehicle, combination of vehicles, animal-drawn vehicle as well as the load and the passengers are in accordance with regulations and that the safety of their vehicle is not impaired by the load or the passengers. They must also take care to ensure that the licence plates required by law are clearly legible at all times. On motor vehicles and their trailers as well as on pedal cycles, the lighting equipment required by law must also be fitted and operational during the hours of daylight; on all other vehicles, however, only if the operator expects to be still driving when lighting is required (section 17(1)).
(1a) A person operating a vehicle must not use a mobile phone or car phone if, in order to do so, they have to pick up or hold the mobile phone or the car phone receiver. This does not apply if the vehicle is stationary and, in the case of motor vehicles, the engine has been switched off.
(1b) A person operating a vehicle must not operate, or carry with them in an operational condition, a device designed to indicate or interfere with traffic enforcement measures. This applies in particular to devices designed to interfere with or indicate speed measurement activities (radar detectors or laser jammers).
(2) A person operating a vehicle must take their vehicle, combination of vehicles or animal-drawn vehicle off the road via the shortest route if any technical defects which have occurred while the vehicle was in motion, and which seriously affect road safety, cannot be repaired without delay; however, motorcycles and pedal cycles may then be pushed.
(3) A person riding a pedal cycle or motorcycle must not hold on to other vehicles. They must not ride hands free. They may only take their feet off the pedals or footrests if road conditions so require.
Section 24 Special means of locomotion
(1) Pushed wheelchairs and wheelchairs with hand grips, sledges, prams and pushchairs, children’s scooters and pedal cycles, roller blades, roller skates and similar non-motorized means of locomotion are not be deemed to be vehicles within the meaning of the present Regulations. The rules governing pedestrians apply to these means of locomotion mutatis mutandis.
(2) Invalid carriages and wheelchairs other than those referred to in subsection (1) may be used where pedestrian traffic is permitted, but may only be operated at walking pace.
Section 25 Pedestrians
(1) Pedestrians must use footways or footpaths. They may walk on the carriageway only if the road has neither a footway nor a verge. If, within built-up areas, they use the carriageway, they must walk on the right- or left-hand edge of the carriageway; outside built-up areas, they must walk on the left-hand edge of the carriageway if they can reasonably be expected to do so. During the hours of darkness, when visibility is poor or if the traffic situation so requires, they must walk in single file.
(2) Pedestrians pushing or towing vehicles or carrying bulky objects must use the carriageway if they would seriously impede other pedestrians by using the footway or verge. If pedestrians pushing or towing vehicles use the carriageway, they must walk on its right-hand edge; prior to turning left, they must not take up a position on the left.
(3) Pedestrians must cross the carriageway speedily and at right angles to the direction of traffic, taking the shortest route possible and paying attention to vehicular traffic; if the traffic situation so requires, they may only cross at intersections or junctions, at traffic light signals within the markings or on pedestrian crossings (sign 293). If they cross the carriageway at an intersection or junction, they must always use pedestrian crossings or markings at traffic light signals that are provided there.
(4) Pedestrians must not climb over barriers such as railings or chains. Barrier planks (sign 600) prohibit pedestrians from entering areas of road closed to traffic.
(5) Tracks that are not also used for other public road transport may be walked on only at the places provided for this purpose.
Section 26 Pedestrian crossings
(1) At pedestrian crossings, vehicles, with the exception of rail-borne vehicles, must allow pedestrians as well as users of invalid carriages and wheelchairs to cross the carriageway when they have clearly indicated their intention to do so. Vehicles may then approach only at a moderate speed; if necessary, they must wait.
(2) If traffic is moving slowly, vehicles may not be driven onto the pedestrian crossing if they would have to wait on it.
(3) Overtaking at pedestrian crossings is prohibited.
(4) If the marking leads across a cycle track or another part of the road, these rules apply mutatis mutandis.
Section 27 Formations
(1) The rules and regulations uniformly applicable to vehicular traffic as a whole apply to close formations mutatis mutandis. More than 15 cyclists may form a close formation. They may then ride two abreast on the carriageway. Groups of children and young people must walk on the footway, as far as this is possible.
(2) Close formations as well as funeral and other processions must, at suitable intervals, leave adequate space for other traffic to pass through if this becomes necessary on account of their length; this traffic must not drive through them at any other places.
(3) A formation is deemed to be close if other road users can clearly recognize it as such. In motor vehicle convoys, every vehicle must be individually marked as belonging to the convoy.
(4) The width of close formations, either riding on horseback or marching on foot, must, if necessary (section 17(1)), be made clearly visible at least from the front by non-dazzling lamps emitting white light and from behind by lamps emitting red light or by flashing amber lights. If such a formation is divided into several, distinctly separate groups, each of them must be marked in this way. Formations do not need their own lighting if they are otherwise sufficiently illuminated.
(5) The leader of the formation must make sure that the provisions applicable to close formations are observed.
(6) Marching in lockstep is not allowed on bridges.
Section 28 Animals
Domestic and farm animals that may endanger traffic shall be kept off the road. They are permitted there only if accompanied by suitable persons who are able to control them to the necessary degree. It is forbidden to lead animals from motor vehicles. Only dogs may be led from pedal cycles.
Horse riders, persons accompanying horses or livestock and drovers are subject mutatis mutandis to the rules and regulations uniformly applicable to vehicular traffic as a whole. The minimum lighting requirements are as follows:
- when herding livestock, a non-dazzling lamp emitting white light at the front and a lamp emitting red light at the rear;
- when accompanying large animals, even if there is only one of them, or livestock, a non-dazzling lamp emitting white light, which must be clearly visible on the left-hand side from the front and from behind.
Section 29 Excessive use of the road
(1) Motor vehicle races are prohibited.
(2) Permission is required for events in the course of which the road will be subjected to excessive use. This is the case when the use of the road for normal traffic has to be restricted because of the number or the behaviour of the participants in the event or because of the manner in which participating vehicles will be driven; motor vehicles in a close formation always constitute excessive use of the road. Organizers must ensure that traffic regulations as well as any other provisions and conditions are complied with.
(3) Permission is required for the operation of vehicles and combinations of vehicles whose dimensions, axle loads or total masses actually exceed the generally authorized legal limits. This also applies to the operation of vehicles where, due to their design, the operator’s field of vision is restricted.
Section 30 Environmental protection, ban on driving on Sundays and public holidays
(1) Unnecessary noise and avoidable exhaust gas emissions from vehicles are prohibited. In particular, it is prohibited to leave vehicle engines running unnecessarily or to create excessive noise when closing vehicle doors. Unnecessary driving or riding back and forth within built-up areas is prohibited if it annoys other persons.
(2) Permission is required for events involving motor vehicles if they are likely to cause a disturbance during the night.
(3) Goods vehicles with a maximum authorized mass exceeding 7.5 tonnes as well as trailers towed by goods vehicles must not be operated between midnight and 10 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays. This ban does not apply to:
- combined rail/road goods transport from the consignor to the nearest suitable loading station or from the nearest suitable station of unloading to the consignee, but only if the distance does not exceed 200 km;
1a. combined port/road goods transport between the point of loading or unloading and a port located within a maximum radius of 150 km (delivery or dispatch);
- the transport of:
a) fresh milk and dairy products;
b) fresh meat and meat products;
c) fresh fish, live fish and fresh fish products;
d) perishable fruit and vegetables;
- journeys made by empty vehicles in connection with journeys referred to under (2) above;
- journeys made by vehicles employed according to the Federal Requisitioning Act. In these cases, the driver must carry the requisition order with him and present it to authorized persons for inspection if requested to do so.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), public holidays are:
Labour Day (1 May);
Corpus Christi (only in the Federal States of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland);
Day of German Unity (3 October);
Reformation Day (31 October) (only in the Federal States of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia);
All Saints’ Day (only in the Federal States of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland);
Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Section 31 Sports and games
(1) Sports and games are not permitted on the carriageway, verges and cycle tracks. The first sentence does not apply if this is indicated by a supplementary sign showing the type of sport or game that is permitted.
(2) The following supplementary sign
allows rollerblading and rollerskating. This supplementary sign can also be installed as a stand-alone sign. Persons rollerblading or rollerskating in these zones must do so on the far right-hand edge in the direction of travel, taking extreme care and paying special attention to other road users, and must allow vehicles to overtake.
Section 32 Traffic obstacles
(1) It is prohibited to soil or wet the road or to take objects onto the road and leave them there if this is likely to endanger or impede traffic. Whoever is responsible for such obstacles to traffic must immediately remove them and, until they have done so, mark them sufficiently. Traffic obstacles shall, if necessary (section 17(1)), be illuminated by their own light source or marked by means of other permissible lighting equipment.
(2) Scythes, mowing blades or similarly dangerous tools shall be effectively cased or sheathed.
Section 33 Traffic disruption
(1) It is prohibited:
- to operate loudspeakers;
- to offer goods and services of any kind on the road;
- to display advertisements and publicity of any kind by means of pictures, script, light or sound outside built-up areas;
if this is likely to distract or annoy road users, thereby endangering or impeding traffic. Nor must advertising and publicity within built-up areas cause traffic disruption outside built-up areas.
(2) Devices that are similar to traffic signs or installations (sections 36 to43 in conjunction with Annexes 1 to 4), that might be confused with them or that might impair their effectiveness must not be put up or otherwise used in places where they are likely to affect traffic. Advertising and publicity in combination with traffic signs and installations are not permitted.
(3) The prohibitions referred to in paragraph 3 of the first sentence of subsection (1) and the second sentence of subsection (2) do not apply to signs indicating service facilities on federal motorways and truckstops where these signs contain information about services catering directly to the needs of road users on federal motorways.
Section 34 Accidents
(1) Any person involved in a traffic accident must:
- stop immediately;
- take the necessary steps to ensure traffic safety and, if there is only minor damage, move their vehicle to the edge of the carriageway;
- ascertain the consequences of the accident;
- assist injured persons (section 323c of the Penal Code);
- to other persons present at the scene of the accident who were involved and have suffered damage:
a) state that they (i.e. the person referred to in the first clause) were involved in the accident; and
b) if requested to do so, provide their own name and address, present their own driving licence and vehicle registration document and, to the best of their knowledge, provide details of their third-party insurance;
a) remain at the scene of the accident until, by virtue of their own presence, it has been possible to identify their personal details, their vehicle and the nature of their involvement to the benefit of the other persons who were involved in and have suffered damage in the accident; or
b) wait for a reasonable length of time and leave their own name and address at the scene of the accident if nobody was prepared to perform the identification;
- immediately facilitate subsequent identification if they have left the scene of the accident legitimately, after giving a plausible excuse or upon expiration of the waiting time (paragraph 6(b)). For this purpose, they must inform at least the persons referred to above (paragraph 6(a)) or a nearby police station that they were involved in the accident and must provide their own address, their present whereabouts as well as the registration number and location of the vehicle that was involved in the accident, which must be kept available for immediate investigation for a reasonable length of time.
(2) Any person whose behaviour, under the circumstances, might have contributed to the accident shall be deemed to be involved in a traffic accident.
(3) Skid marks and other trace evidence must not be removed before the necessary investigations have been made.
Section 35 Special rights
(1) The Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), Bundespolizei (Federal Police), fire brigades, disaster control services, police forces and customs service are exempt from the provisions of the present Regulations if this is absolutely necessary for the performance of their statutory functions.
(1a) Subsection 1 applies mutatis mutandis to officials from other countries who, on the basis of agreements under international law, are authorized to engage in hot pursuit of or to observe offenders on German territory.
(2) However, the above-mentioned organizations require permission, even if the conditions in subsection (1) are met:
- if they intend to operate more than 30 motor vehicles in a close formation (section 27);
- in every other case of exceptional use of the road, with the exception of that specified in the second sentence of section 29(3).
(3) The Federal Armed Forces are also authorized to make exceptional use of the road going beyond subsection (2) if agreements have been made.
(4) The restrictions imposed on the special rights by subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to operations in connection with accidents, disasters and disturbances of public safety and order, nor do they apply in the cases of Articles 91 and 87a(4) of the Basic Law or in a state of defence or tension.
(5) The armed forces of the non-German states parties to the North Atlantic Treaty shall, in the event of urgent military requirements, be exempt from the provisions of the present Regulations; they shall be exempt from the provisions of section 29, however, only if special regulations or agreements have been concluded for these forces.
(5a) Vehicles of the emergency services are exempt from the provisions of the present Regulations in cases of the utmost urgency in order to save human life or to ward off serious damage to health.
(6) Vehicles used for the construction, maintenance or cleaning of roads and road installations or for refuse collection, and which are marked by white-red-and-white warning devices, may be driven and may stop on all roads, parts of roads and on either side of the road in either direction and at any time if their deployment so requires; for the cleaning of footways, however, they may do so only if their maximum authorized mass does not exceed 2.8 tonnes. The same applies to vehicles for the cleaning of footways whose maximum authorized mass does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and whose tyre pressure is not higher than 3 bar. Care must be taken to ensure that no damage is done to the footways and utility lines located below them. Persons employed in connection with these vehicles or supervising roads or road installations must, during their work off the footways and outside road areas closed to traffic by barriers, wear high-visibility safety clothing.
(7) Measuring vehicles operated by the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (section 1 of the Act on the Federal Network Agency) may be driven and stop on all roads or parts of roads at any time if this is necessary for the performance of their statutory functions.
(7a) Vehicles operated by companies that provide universal services under section 11 of the Postal Act in conjunction with section 1(1) of the Universal Postal Services Regulations or vehicles operated by companies that provide these universal services on their behalf (subcontractors) may, in derogation from Annex 2, no 21 (sign 242.1), also use pedestrian zones outside the hours shown on supplementary signs for access by residents and vehicles making deliveries if this is necessary for making punctual collections from post boxes of for collecting letters in stationary facilities. In addition, the vehicles referred to in the first sentence may, in derogation from the first sentence of section 12(4) and Annex 2, no 62 (sign 283), no 63 (sign 286) and no 64 (sign 290.1), also be double-parked on the carriageway for a short period of time within a range of 10 m before and after a post box if, due to a lack of other suitable parking places, this is necessary for the purpose of making collections from post boxes. The first and second sentences only apply if proof that a universal service is being provided or, additionally, proof that the vehicle is being operated by a subcontractor tasked with providing this service is displayed in or affixed to the vehicle such that it is visible at all times. Section 2(3) in conjunction with Annex 3 no 7 of the Regulations on the marking of motor vehicles with a low contribution to the pollution level of 10 October 2006 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2218), as amended by Article 1 of the Regulations of 5 December 2007 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2793), shall not be applied to the vehicles referred to in the first sentence.
(8) These special rights may be exercised only with due regard to public safety and order.
Traffic Signs and Installations
Section 36 Signals and instructions given by police officers
(1) The signals and instructions given by police officers must be obeyed. They take precedence over all other orders and other rules but do not relieve road users of their obligation to take due care.
(2) At intersections, the signals have the following meaning:
- One arm or both arms outstretched horizontally at right angles to the direction of traffic: “Stop in front of the intersection”.Cross traffic is allowed to proceed.
If this signal is given, it remains effective for as long as the officer beckons on traffic in the same direction or merely maintains the basic position. Traffic allowed to proceed may turn off in accordance with the rules of section 9; it may turn left, however, only if no rail-borne vehicles are impeded by its doing so.
- One arm raised upright:“Wait in front of the intersection for the next signal”;
For road users on the intersection: “Clear the intersection”.
(3) These signals may be supplemented or altered by instructions.
(4) At other places on the road, such as junctions and pedestrian crossings, the signals have the same meaning.
(5) Police officers may stop road users for the purposes of roadside checks, including a check of their fitness to drive and for traffic surveys. The signal to stop may also be given by means of suitable technical devices on the police vehicle, a signalling disc or a red light. These signals may also be used to stop a road user ahead of the police vehicle. Road users must comply with the instructions given by police officers.
Section 37 Traffic light signals, lane control signals and green arrow
(1) Light signals take precedence over priority rules and traffic signs regulating priority. A person operating a vehicle must not stop up to 10 metres in front of a light signal if this would conceal the signal.
(2) The sequence of traffic light signals is green – amber – red – red and amber (simultaneously) – green. Red is at the top, amber in the middle and green at the bottom.
- Colours at intersections mean:Green: “Traffic may proceed”.
Traffic may turn off in accordance with the rules of section 9; it may turn left, however, only if no rail-borne vehicles are impeded by its doing so.
Green arrow: “Traffic may proceed only in the direction of the arrow”.
A green arrow on the left-hand side after an intersection indicates that oncoming traffic is signalled to stop by a red light and that vehicles wishing to turn left may enter or clear the intersection unhindered in the direction of the green arrow.
Amber: “Wait in front of the intersection for the next signal”. None of these signals relieves road users of their obligation to take due care.
Red: “Stop in front of the intersection”.
After stopping, traffic may turn right even if red is showing if a sign with a green arrow on a black background (green arrow) is affixed to the right of the red light. A person operating a vehicle may turn off only from the right-hand lane. When doing so, they must take care not to impede or endanger any other road users, especially pedestrians and vehicles that are allowed to proceed.
A black arrow on a red light gives the order to stop, a black arrow on an amber light to wait for the next signal, in both cases only for the direction in which the arrow is pointing.
A single-aspect signal with a green arrow allows traffic to turn right when the light for traffic going straight ahead shows red.
- At other places on the road, such as junctions and markings for pedestrian traffic, light signals have the same meaning.
- The sequence of traffic light signals may be limited to amber – red.
- A separate light signal may be provided for each of several marked lanes (sign 295, 296 or 340). Special signals, including signals with different phases, may be provided for rail-borne vehicles; this also applies to regular service buses and vehicles carrying schoolchildren or disabled persons that have to be marked with the school bus sign under legislation governing the carriage of passengers if they use dedicated lanes that other traffic may not use; in addition, it applies to ambulances, pedal cycles, taxis and buses operating occasional services if supplementary signs also allow them to use these lanes.
- If the light signals apply only to pedestrians or pedal cyclists, this is indicated by a “pedestrians” or “cycle” symbol. The colour sequence for pedestrians is green –red– green; it may be the same for pedal cyclists. If green changes to red while pedestrians are crossing the carriageway, they must continue to do so as speedily as possible.
- A person riding a pedal cycle must obey the light signals controlling vehicular traffic. In derogation from this, a person cycling on a cycle facility must obey the special light signals controlling pedal cyclists. At traffic light signals with cycle facilities without separate light signals controlling pedal cyclists, pedal cyclists must, until 31 December 2016, continue to obey the light signals controlling pedestrians if a cycle crossing is adjacent to a pedestrian crossing.
(3) Lane control signals above a lane close the lane to traffic or indicate that it is available to traffic.
Crossed red diagonal bars mean:
“This lane must not be used”.
A green arrow pointing downwards means:
“This lane is available to traffic”.
A flashing amber arrow pointing diagonally downwards means:
“Change lanes in the direction indicated by the arrow”.
(4) Where light signals control traffic, vehicles may travel alongside each other, even if the volume of traffic is low.
(5) A person operating a vehicle must not stop on a lane with lane control signals.
Section 38 Flashing blue lights and flashing amber lights
(1) Flashing blue lights together with a siren may only be used in cases of the utmost urgency in order to save human life, to ward off serious damage to health or danger to public safety and order, to pursue persons on the run or to protect objects of great value.
“All other road users must make way immediately”.
(2) A flashing blue light alone may only be used by those vehicles that are equipped with such a light and only to warn road users of scenes of accidents or other incidents, on emergency runs or for escorting vehicles or close formations.
(3) Flashing amber lights warn of danger. They can be stationary or used on vehicles. Use on vehicles is only permitted to warn road users of road works sites or scenes of accidents, of vehicles moving unusually slowly or having an abnormal width or length or with abnormally wide or long loads.
Section 39 Traffic signs
(1) Given that all road users are themselves responsible for ensuring that they observe the general and particular rules contained in the present Regulations, traffic signs giving local instructions are installed only where special circumstances render this imperative.
(1a) Within built-up areas, road users on roads that are not priority roads (sign 306) must expect to encounter zones where a 30 kph speed limit is in force (sign 274.1).
(2) Regulations indicated by traffic signs take priority over general traffic rules. Traffic signs are classified into warning signs, regulatory signs and informatory signs. As post-mounted signs, they are usually positioned on the right-hand side. If they only apply to individual marked lanes, they are usually mounted above these lanes.
(3) Additional signs are also traffic signs. Supplementary signs display black symbols, drawings or worded legends on a white background with a black border, unless otherwise specified. They are mounted directly, usually below, the sign to which they refer.
(4) Traffic signs may be mounted on a white backing board. On variable message signs, the white areas may, in derogation from the signs illustrated below, be black and the black symbols and the black border may be white if these signs are only produced by lamps.
(5) Markings and cycle facility markings are also traffic signs. They are normally white. Only as temporarily applicable markings are they yellow; in this case, they override the white markings Yellow markings may also take the form of rows of retroreflective road studs, rows of light-emitting road studs, guide barriers or guide kerbs. Rows of light-emitting roads studs apply only when they are switched on. All lines may be replaced by rows of evenly placed retroreflective studs. In traffic-calmed shopping precincts (section 45(1d)), edge of carriageway markings may also be designed using different means, in particular by lines of paving setts. Worded legends and traffic signs on the carriageway warn or remind road users of a mounted traffic sign.
(6) Traffic signs may also be mounted on a vehicle. They also apply while the vehicle is moving. They take precedence over the instructions given by fixed traffic signs.
(7) If symbols are shown on traffic signs other than those illustrated in Annexes 1 to 3 to sections 40 to 42, they have the following meaning:
(8) In particularly hazardous situations, the “cattle crossing” and “horse riders” symbols and symbols with the following meaning can be provided as warning signs in accordance with Annex 1:
(9) The traffic signs and installations illustrated in Annexes 1 to 4 may also be installed with the alternatives described in the Catalogue of Traffic Signs. The Catalogue of Traffic Signs is published in the Federal Ministry of Transport Gazette by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Infrastructure.
(10) To grant privileges to electrically powered vehicles, the following sign
may be installed as the content of a supplementary sign. Electric vehicles are those vehicles marked in accordance with section 9a(2) and (4), in both cases also in conjunction with sub-section (5), of the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Regulations.
Section 40 Warning signs
(1) Warning signs alert road users of the need for special caution, in particular the need for a reduction in speed because of a potential danger ahead (section 3(1)).
(2) Outside built-up areas, these signs are generally placed 150 to 200 metres before hazards. Where the distance is considerably shorter, it may be indicated on a supplementary sign, such as
(3) Within built-up areas, they are generally placed at a short distance from the hazard.
(4) A supplementary sign such as
may indicate the length over which the hazard extends.
(5) If a warning sign is placed in advance of a junction, a black arrow on a supplementary sign points in the direction of the hazard if it is located on the other road.
(6) General warning signs are shown in Part 1 of Annex 1.
(7) Special warning signs used in advance of crossings on which rail-borne vehicles have priority are shown in Part 2 of Annex 1.
Section 41 Regulatory signs
(1) Road users must comply with the requirements or prohibitions indicated by the regulatory signs shown in Annex 2.
(2) Subject to the proviso in the second sentence, regulatory signs are sited at the place where or from where the instruction is to be complied with. If, in order to enhance the smooth flow of traffic or road safety, the signs are sited at a certain distance from the place at which it becomes compulsory to comply with them, this distance is indicated on a supplementary sign. Other supplementary signs indicate only general restrictions on these requirements or prohibitions or general exemptions from them. The special supplementary signs to signs 283, 286, 277, 290.1 and 290.2 can indicate something else, for instance their scope of application.
Section 42 Informatory signs
(1) Informatory signs give special instructions to enhance the flow of traffic. They can also give positive instructions or indicate a prohibition.
(2) Road users must comply with the requirements or prohibitions indicated by the informatory signs shown in Annex 3.
(3) Subject to the proviso in the second sentence, informatory signs are sited at the place where or from where the instruction is to be complied with. If, in order to enhance the smooth flow of traffic or road safety, the signs are sited at a certain distance from the place at which it becomes compulsory to comply with them, this distance is indicated on a supplementary sign.
Section 43 Traffic installations
(1) Traffic installations are barriers, bollards, guarding equipment and guiding systems which, with the exception of delineators, guide curbs and guide separators, have red-and-white stripes. Guide curbs and guide separators perform the function of a temporarily applicable marking and are yellow. Traffic installations also include guard rails, parking meters, parking ticket machines, flashing lights and traffic light signals plus adaptive traffic control systems. Section (39)(1) applies mutatis mutandis.
(2) Regulations indicated by traffic installations take priority over general traffic rules.
(3) Traffic installations within the meaning of the first sentence of subsection (1) are shown in Annex 4. Road users must not drive or ride on the road areas marked by traffic installations (Annex 4, nos 1 to 7).
(4) Officially approved warning markers may be used to mark, in accordance with the second and third sentences of section 17(4), vehicles and trailers parked on the carriageway within built-up areas.
Implementing Regulations, Administrative Fines and Final
Section 44 Technical competence
(1) Unless otherwise provided, the road traffic authorities are responsible for implementing these Regulations. Under the provisions of the relevant federal state legislation, the responsibility of the top-level federal state authorities and of the higher administrative authorities may, in individual cases or generally, be delegated to another agency.
(2) The police are authorized to regulate traffic by means of signals and instructions (section 36) and by operating traffic light signals. To maintain the safety and order of road traffic in cases of imminent danger, the police may function in lieu of the competent authorities and may take preliminary measures; in this case, the police shall decide on the measures to be taken to ensure traffic safety and traffic management.
(3) Permission under section 29(2) and section 30(2) shall be granted by the competent road traffic authority; if the event extends beyond the district of a road traffic authority, however, permission shall be granted by the higher administrative authority; it shall be granted by the top-level federal state authority if the event extends beyond the administrative area of the higher administrative authority. If the event affects several federal states, the top-level federal state authority in whose state the event starts shall be responsible. Under the provisions of the relevant federal state legislation, the responsibility of the top-level federal state authorities and of the higher administrative authorities may, in individual cases or generally, be delegated to another agency.
(3a) Permission under section 29(3) shall be granted by the competent road traffic authority; however, if there is no consultation, it shall be granted by the higher administrative authority responsible for approving deviations from dimensions, axle loads, the maximum authorized mass and the field of vision of a vehicle by way of exemption; in this case, it shall also be responsible for exemptions under section 46(1)(2) and (5) within the scope of such permission. The same shall apply if these tasks of the higher administrative authority are performed by another authority.
(4) Agreements concerning the use of roads by military traffic shall be concluded by the Federal Armed Forces or the forces of the non-German states parties to the North Atlantic Treaty with the top-level federal state authority or the agency it designates.
(5) Where agreements or special arrangements for foreign armed forces have not been concluded, the higher administrative authorities or the agencies designated under the relevant federal state legislation shall grant permission for the exceptional use of roads by the Federal Armed Forces or by the forces of the non-German states parties to the North Atlantic Treaty; they shall also grant permission for the exceptional use of roads by the Federal Police, police forces and disaster control services.
Section 45 Traffic signs and installations
(1) The road traffic authorities may restrict or prohibit the use of certain roads or sections of road for reasons of safety or to maintain the order of traffic and may divert traffic. They have the same rights with regard to:
- the execution of road works;
- the prevention of excessive damage to the road;
- the protection of residents against noise and exhaust gas emissions;
- the protection of rivers, lakes and mineral springs;
- the taking of measures required for the maintenance of public safety; and
- the carrying out of studies into the overall accident situation, road user behaviour, traffic flows and the trialling of planned traffic safety or regulation measures.
(1a) In addition, they have the same rights:
- in spas and health resorts;
- in climatic health resorts;
- in recreational resorts of special importance;
- in areas of countryside and parts of towns and cities used primarily for recreational purposes;
4a. in respect of local measures for the protection of species and biotopes:
4b. in respect of local measures of a definite duration for the protection of cultural events that are staged outside the street environment and that may be seriously affected by road traffic, especially by the noise emitted by this traffic;
- in the vicinity of hospitals and sanatoriums; and
- in the immediate vicinity of recreational sites outside built-up areas;
if, by doing so, they can prevent nuisances caused by vehicular traffic that would otherwise be unavoidable.
(1b) The road traffic authorities shall also make the arrangements required:
- in connection with the establishment of chargeable car parks for major events;
- in connection with the marking of parking facilities for disabled persons with severe walking difficulties, bilateral amelia or phocomelia or with comparable functional impairments and for blind persons;
2a. in connection with the marking of parking facilities for residents of urban neighbourhoods with a serious lack of parking space, by reserving parking space, either at all times or at certain times of the day, for those entitled to park there, or by issuing orders exempting them from parking management schemes in force;
- for the marking of pedestrian precincts and traffic-calmed areas;
- for the maintenance of safety and order in these areas; and
- for the protection of the population against noise and exhaust gas emissions or to support sound urban development.
The road traffic authorities shall regulate the provision of parking facilities for residents, the marking of pedestrian precincts and traffic-calmed areas, and the taking of measures for the protection of the population against noise and exhaust gas emissions or to support sound urban development in agreement with the local authority concerned.
(1c) In addition, the road traffic authorities shall designate, in agreement with the local authority, 30 kph zones within built-up areas, especially in residential areas and areas with a high density of pedestrians and pedal cyclists and where a large number of persons have to cross the road. The zones thus designated must not include interurban roads (federal highways, regional roads and district roads) or other priority roads (sign 306). It may only comprise roads without signal controlled intersections or junctions, lines delimiting traffic lanes (sign 295), lane markings (sign 340) and mandatory cycle tracks (sign 237, 240, 241 or sign 295 in conjunction with sign 237). At intersections and junctions within the zone, the right of way rule described in the first sentence of section 8(1) (vehicles from the right have priority over vehicles from the left) must always apply. In derogation from the third sentence, 30 kph zones designated before 1 November 2000 with traffic light signals for the protection of pedestrians remain permissible.
(1d) In central urban areas with a high pedestrian footfall, where people tend to spend time rather than just passing through (traffic-calmed shopping precincts), the maximum permissible speed in a zone may also be less than 30 kph.
(1e) The road traffic authorities shall issue orders relating to the traffic signs and installations required for the operation of tolled sections of road on the basis of the traffic sign plan submitted by the concessionaire. The necessary orders shall be issued no later than three months after receipt of the traffic sign plan.
(1f) To mark the low emission zones stipulated in an air quality action plan or in a plan for measures to be taken at short notice under section 47(1) or (2) of the Federal Immission Control Act, the road traffic authority shall issue the orders for the necessary prohibition of traffic by means of signs 270.1 and 270.2 in conjunction with the appropriate supplementary sign.
(1g) To grant privileges to electrically powered vehicles, the road traffic authority shall, with due regard to the requirements set out in section 3(1) of the Electric Mobility Act, order the installation of the necessary signs 314, 314.1 and 315 in conjunction with the appropriate supplementary sign.
(2) For the purpose of carrying out road works and for the prevention of excessive damage to the road due to its state of repair, the authorities responsible for road construction under federal state law (highway authority) may – subject to other measures taken by the road traffic authorities – order bans and restrictions on traffic, divert traffic and direct it by markings and guiding devices. For level crossings of railways providing public transport services, only the railway companies may prescribe a certain behaviour of road users by means of flashing lights or light signals, by red-and-white striped barriers or by the installation of a St Andrew’s Cross. All requirements and prohibitions shall be indicated by signs and traffic installations pursuant to the present Regulations.
(3) In all other cases, the road traffic authorities shall decide where and which traffic signs and traffic installations are to be set up or removed; in the case of road name signs, however, they may only decide where they are to be installed in the manner shown by sign 437. The highway authorities shall – subject to other instructions issued by the road traffic authorities – determine the manner of installation and design, such as larger sizes and illumination; the decision as to whether delineators are to be installed shall be taken by them alone. They may also – subject to other measures taken by the road traffic authorities – put up warning signs if the safety of traffic is endangered by the condition of the road.
(4) The authorities referred to above may regulate and guide traffic only by means of traffic signs and traffic installations; in the case governed by paragraph 5 of the second sentence of subsection (1), however, they may also do so by means of instructions announced via radio, television, daily newspapers or in any other way, if the setting-up of traffic signs and installations is not possible under the prevailing circumstances.
(5) The agency responsible for road construction and maintenance is obliged to procure, install, maintain, operate, illuminate and remove the traffic signs and traffic installations; otherwise the owner of the road is be obliged to do so. This also applies to the illumination of pedestrian crossings ordered by the road traffic authority.
(6) Prior to the beginning of works affecting road traffic, the contractors must obtain instructions from the competent authority, as described in subsections (1) to (3), as to how their road works sites are to be guarded and marked, whether, and if so how, traffic is to be restricted, guided and regulated, even if the road is only partially closed, and whether, and if so how, road closures and diversions are to be marked; the building contractors must also submit a traffic sign plan. The contractors must follow these instructions and operate traffic light signals.
(7) If roads are marked as priority roads or as diversion routes, road works narrowing the carriageway require the approval of the road traffic authority, with the exception of routine road maintenance and emergency measures. Approval shall be deemed to have been granted if the authority has not expressed its views on the road works within one week after receipt of the request.
(7a) The crews of vehicles used for breakdown and recovery services and for the preparation of towing operations may, if danger is imminent, place traffic cones (sign 610) at the site of the breakdown for their own safety, to protect the broken-down vehicle and to ensure the safety of other traffic.
(8) Within built-up areas, the road traffic authorities may increase the maximum permissible speed on certain roads by using sign 274. Outside built-up areas, they may – with the consent of the competent top-level federal state authorities – raise the maximum permissible speed under section 3(3)(2) to 120 kph by using sign 274.
(9) Orders for the use of traffic signs and traffic installations shall be issued only where special circumstances render this imperative. Warning signs may be installed only where this is necessary to ensure traffic safety because even an alert road user cannot recognize the danger, or cannot recognize it in good time, and cannot be expected to anticipate it. In particular, restrictions and prohibitions may be imposed on moving traffic only if, as a result of special local circumstances, there exists a dangerous situation which far exceeds the general risk of an impairment of the objects of legal protection mentioned in the subsections above. The third sentence does not apply to:
- advisory cycle lanes (sign 340);
- cycle-only roads (sign 244.1);
- special paths and tracks outside built-up areas (sign 237, sign 240, sign 241) or cycle lanes within built-up areas (sign 237 in combination with sign 295);
- 30 kph zones referred to in subsection (1c);
- traffic-calmed shopping precincts referred to in subsection (1d);
- 30 kph speed limits on stretches of road within built-up areas (sign 274) referred to in the first sentence of subsection (1) on inter-urban roads (federal highways, regional roads and district roads) or on other priority roads (sign 306) in the immediate vicinity of nursery schools, child day care centres, general education schools, special needs schools, old people’s homes, nursing homes or hospitals.
In addition, the third sentence does not apply to restrictions and prohibitions imposed on moving traffic by the first sentence of subsection (1) or paragraph 3 of the second sentence of subsection (1) to remedy or mitigate serious impacts of changes to traffic conditions resulting from the levying of tolls under the Federal Trunk Road Toll Act. Nor does the third sentence apply to the marking of the low emission zones referred to in subsection (1f) stipulated in an air quality action plan or in a plan for measures to be taken at short notice under section 47(1) or (2) of the Federal Immission Control Act.
(10) Subsection (9) does not apply if orders are issued to install traffic signs that may be used to promote electric mobility under the Electric Mobility Act.
Section 46 Exemptions and permission
(1) In particular cases or generally, the road traffic authorities may grant, to certain applicants, exemptions from:
- the provisions governing the use of roads (section 2);
- the prohibition of walking on a motorway or motor road or of driving on them with vehicles that are not allowed to use these road categories (section 18(1) and (9));
- the prohibitions of stopping and parking (section 12(4));
- the prohibition of parking in front of or opposite entrances to and exits from properties (section 12(3)(3));
4a. the provision stating that road users may park at parking meters only when they are in operation, and at parking ticket machines only with a pay-anddisplay ticket (section 13(1));
4b. the provision stating that road users may park in a no waiting zone (sign 290.1 and 290.2) only during the hours indicated (section 13(2));
4c. the provisions governing the towing of vehicles (section 15a);
- the provisions governing the height, length and width of vehicles and loads (second sentence of section 18(1), section 22(2) to (4));
5a. the prohibition on the carriage of persons where this is not permissible (section 21);
5b. the provisions governing the use of seat belts and the wearing of safety helmets (section 21a);
- the prohibition of leading animals from motor vehicles and animals other than dogs from pedal cycles (third and fourth sentences of section 28(1));
- the ban on driving on Sundays and public holidays (section 30(3));
- the prohibition of taking obstacles onto the road (section 32(1));
- the prohibitions of using loudspeakers and offering goods or services on the road (section 33(1)(1) and (2));
- the prohibition of displaying advertisements and publicity in combination with traffic signs (second sentence of section 33(2)), but only for the spaces of illuminated columns on which public transport stop signs are mounted;
- the prohibitions or restrictions based on regulatory signs (Annex 2), informatory signs (Annex 3), traffic installations (Annex 4) or instructions
- the prohibition of parking at night and on Sundays and public holidays (section 12(3a)).
Exemptions from the prohibition of carrying passengers on the load area or in load compartments of goods vehicles (section 21(2)) may be granted for the services of the Federal Armed Forces, of the international headquarters established on the basis of the North Atlantic Treaty, the Federal Police and the police forces by their respective competent authorities, and for disaster control services by the appropriate authorities of the individual federal states. The same applies to the provision governing the compulsory wearing of seat belts or protective helmets (section 21a).
(1a) To grant privileges to electrically powered vehicles in general , the road traffic authorities may, by means of supplementary signs, allow exemptions from traffic restrictions, traffic prohibitions or diversions referred to in section 45(1)(3), section 45(1a) and section 45(1b)(5), first alternative. They have the same rights with regard to the use of bus lanes by electrically powered vehicles. The requirements set out in section 3(1) of the Electric Mobility Act are to be observed.
(2) The competent top-level federal state authorities or the agencies designated under the relevant federal state legislation may grant exemptions from all the provisions of the present Regulations for certain applicants, either for specific individual cases or generally. In addition, they may grant exemptions from the ban on driving on Sundays and public holidays (section 30(3)) for specific roads or road sections if this is necessary on account of differences with regard to public holidays in the individual federal states (section 30(4)). If the effects of an exemption extend beyond one federal state and if a uniform decision is required, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is the competent authority; this does not apply to exemptions from the prohibition of racing events (section 29(1)).
(3) Exemptions and permission may be granted subject to revocation and secondary provisions (conditions, time limits, requirements). If necessary, the competent authority may demand the presentation of an expert opinion at the expense of the applicant.
Road users shall carry the exemptions and permits with them and present them to authorized persons if requested to so. In the case of permits granted under section 29(3) and exemptions granted under section 46(1)(5), it shall be sufficient for road users to carry with them faxed documents or printouts of permits or exemptions granted and signed electronically and their digitized form on a storage medium provided that this digitized form is such that it can be made readable if requested by authorized persons in the event of a check.
(4) Exemptions and permits issued by the competent authority are valid within the scope of application of the present Regulations unless they state another scope of application.
Section 47 Local competence
(1) Permission under section 29(2) and section 30(2) for an event beginning abroad shall be granted by the authority competent pursuant to section 44(3) in whose sphere of responsibility the border crossing point is located. This authority shall also be responsible if other movements requiring permission begin abroad. Permission under section 29(3) shall be granted by the road traffic authority in whose district the movement requiring permission begins, or by the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant has their residence, their place of business or a branch office.
(2) The following authorities are responsible for the granting of exemptions:
- pursuant to section 46(1)(2), the road traffic authority in whose district the vehicles are to join the motorway or motor road for an exemption from section 18(1). If, however, permission under section 29(3) or an exemption under section 46(1)(5) is to be granted, the administrative authority granting this permission or exemption is responsible;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(4a) for persons of small stature and pursuant to section46(1)(4a) and (4b) for persons without hands, the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant’s residence is located, also for areas outside its district;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(4c), the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant has their residence, their place of business or a branch office;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(5), the road traffic authority in whose district the movement requiring permission begins, or the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant has their residence, their place of business or a branch office;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(5b), the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant has their residence, also for areas outside its district;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(7), the road traffic authority in whose district goods are to be loaded, or the road traffic authority in whose district the applicant has their residence, their place of business or a branch office. They are also responsible for authorizing the journey by an empty vehicle to the place of loading, and also if, in their federal state, the special permit is not made use of or if the driving ban does not apply there;
- pursuant to section 46(1)(11), the road traffic authority in whose district the prohibitions, restrictions and instructions have been issued; in the case of disabled persons, however, any road traffic authority, including for those measures in force outside its district;
- in all other cases, the road traffic authority in whose district the exemption is to be made use of.
(3) Permission for the exceptional use of roads by the Federal Armed Forces, the forces referred to in section 35(5), the Federal Police, the police forces and disaster control services shall be granted by the higher administrative authority or the agency designated under the relevant federal state legislation in whose district the movement requiring permission begins.
Section 48 Remedial training
Anyone failing to observe traffic rules shall, on receipt of a summons from the road traffic authority or from officials designated by it, be obliged to attend a training course on road user behaviour.
Section 49 Administrative offences
(1) Anyone violating, either deliberately or negligently, a provision governing:
- general road user behaviour, pursuant to section 1(2);
- the use of the road by vehicles, pursuant to section 2(1) to (3a), the first, fifth or sixth sentence of section 2(4) or section 2(5);
- speed, pursuant to section 3;
- the distance between vehicles, pursuant to section 4;
- overtaking, pursuant to section 5(1) or (2), section (5)(3)(1), section 5(3a) to (4a), the second sentence of section 5(5), section 5(6) or (7);
- passing, pursuant to section 6;
- the use of left-hand lanes, pursuant to the first sentence of section 7(3a), also in conjunction with the second sentence of section 7(3b), the third sentence of section 7(3c), or lane changing, pursuant to section 7(5);
7a. behaviour on deceleration lanes, pursuant to section 7a(3);
- the right of way, pursuant to section 8;
- turning off, making U-turns or reversing, pursuant to section 9 (1), the second or third sentence of section 9(2) or section 9(3) to (5);
- entering the road or moving off, pursuant to the first or second sentence of section 10;
- behaviour in special traffic situations, pursuant to section 11(1) or (2);
- stopping or parking, pursuant to section 12 (1), section 12 (3), the first sentence of section 12(3a), the first sentence of section 12(3b), the first sentence, second clause of the second sentence, third or fifth sentence of section 12(4), or section 12(4a) to (6);
- parking meters, pay-and-display tickets or parking discs, pursuant to section 13(1) or (2);
- the obligation to take care when getting into or out of a vehicle, pursuant to section 14;
- vehicle breakdowns, pursuant to section 15;
15a. the towing of vehicles pursuant to section 15a;
- the giving of warning signals, pursuant to section 16;
- the lighting of vehicles and the parking of unlit vehicles, pursuant to section 17(1) to (4), the first sentence of section 17(4a), section 17(5) or (6);
- the use of motorways and motor roads, pursuant to section 18(1) to (3), the second sentence of section 18(5) or section 18(6) to (11);
a) at level crossings, pursuant to paragraph 2 or 3 of the first sentence of section 19(1), the second or third sentence of section 19(1), or the first sentence of section 19(2), also in conjunction with the second sentence of section 19(2), or section 19(3) to (6), or
b) at and on the approach to public transport stops and school bus stops, pursuant to section 20;
- the carriage of passengers, pursuant to the fourth sentence of section 21(1), the first sentence of section 21(1a), also in conjunction with paragraph 2 of the second sentence of section 21(1a), the first, fourth or sixth sentence of section 21(2) or the first or second sentence of section 21(3);
20a. the wearing of seat belts, pursuant to the first sentence of section 21a(1), or the wearing of protective helmets, pursuant to the first sentence of section 21a(2);
- loads, pursuant to section 22;
- other obligations of persons operating vehicles, pursuant to section 23(1), the first sentence of section 23(1a), section 23(1b), the first clause of section 21(2), or section 21(3);
- the use of invalid carriages or of wheelchairs other than those referred to in section 24(1), pursuant to section 24(2);
a) as a pedestrian, pursuant to section 25(1) to (4);
b) at pedestrian crossings, pursuant to section 26; or
c) on bridges, pursuant to section 27(6);
- environmental protection, pursuant to section 30(1) or (2), or the ban on driving on Sundays and public holidays, pursuant to the first or second sentence of section 30(3) or the second sentence of section 30(3)(4);
- sports or games, pursuant to the first sentence of section 31(1) or the third sentence of section 31(2);
- the causing, removal or marking of obstacles to traffic or the effective casing or sheathing of dangerous equipment, pursuant to section 32;
- traffic impairment, pursuant to section 33(1) or (2); or
- behaviour following a traffic accident, pursuant to section 34(1)(1), section 34(1)(2), section 34(1)(5) or section 34(1)(6)(b) – if, in the last-named case, the person concerned waits for a reasonable length of time but does not leave their name and address at the scene of the accident – or pursuant to section 34(3);
shall be deemed to have committed a traffic offence within the meaning of section 24 of the Road Traffic Act.
(2) In addition, anyone who, either deliberately or negligently:
- as the person in charge of a close formation or convoy, in contravention of section 27(5), does not ensure that the provisions applicable to close formations or convoys are observed;
1a. in contravention of section 27(2), cuts into a close formation;
- as the person in charge of a group of children or young people, in contravention of the fourth sentence of section 27(1), does not ensure that they use the footway;
- as the owner or keeper of animals or as a person otherwise responsible for animals, violates a provision of section 28(1) or the second sentence of section 28(2);
- as a horse rider, a person accompanying horses, a drover or person accompanying livestock, in contravention of section 28(2), violates a traffic rule or instruction applying to vehicular traffic in general;
- as a person operating a motor vehicle, in contravention of section 29(1), participates in a race;
- in contravention of the first sentence of section 29(2), organizes an event or, as the organizer, in contravention of the third sentence of section 29(2), does not make sure that the pertinent traffic regulations or special conditions are observed;
- in contravention of section 29(3), drives a vehicle or combination of vehicles referred to in that subsection;
(3) Likewise, anyone who, either deliberately or negligently:
- in contravention of section 36(1) to (4), does not obey a signal or an instruction or, in contravention of the fourth sentence of section 36(5), a stop signal or a direction given by a police officer;
- violates a provision of section 37 governing behaviour at traffic lights, lane control signals or when turning right at a green arrow signal;
- in contravention of section 38(1), section 38(2) or the third sentence of section 38(3), uses a flashing blue light, a flashing blue light together with a siren or a flashing amber light or, in contravention of the second sentence of section 38(1), does not immediately make way for emergency vehicles;
- in contravention of section 41(1), does not comply with a requirement or prohibition indicated by regulatory signs and described in column 3 of Annex 2;
- in contravention of section 42(2), does not comply with a requirement or prohibition indicated by informatory signs and described in column 3 of Annex 3;
- in contravention of the second sentence of section 43(3), drives or rides on an area of road closed to traffic;
- violates an instruction prohibiting or restricting traffic announced pursuant to the second clause of section 45(4);
Finally, anyone who, either deliberately or negligently:
- violates the prohibition under the first, second or third sentence of section 35(6) concerning the cleaning of footways;
1a. in contravention of the fourth sentence of section 35(6), does not wear highvisibility clothing; in contravention of section 35(8), exercises special rights without having due regard to public safety and order;
- in contravention of section 45(6), starts work without previously obtaining instructions, does not observe these instructions or does not operate traffic light signals;
- in contravention of the first sentence of section 46(3), does not observe an enforceable condition of the exemption or permission;
- in contravention of the third sentence of section 46(3), also in conjunction with the fourth sentence, does not carry with them the notices of exemption or permission, printouts or a digitized version thereof or fails to present them or make them visible when requested to do so;
- in contravention of section 48, does not follow a summons to attend a remedial training course;
- in contravention of section 50, operates a motor vehicle or rides a pedal cycle on the island of Helgoland;
Section 50 Special regulation for the island of Helgoland
The operation of motor vehicles and the riding of pedal cycles are prohibited on the island of Helgoland.
Section 51 Special cost regulation
In derogation from section 5b(1) of the Road Traffic Act, the costs of signs 386.1, 386.2 and 386.3 shall be borne by the person requesting their installation.
Section 52 Transitional and final provisions
As of midnight on 31 December 2026, the following shall no longer be applied:
- section 39(10);
- section 45(1g);
- section 46(1a)
- Annex 2 no 25 column 3 no 4 and nos 25.1, 27.1, 63.5 and 64.1
- Annex 3 no 7 column 3 no 3, no 8 column 3 no 4, no 10 column 3 no 3 and no 11 column 3
Section 53 Entry into force, termination
(1) The present Regulations shall enter into force on 1 April 2013.
(2) The Road Traffic Regulations of 16 November 1970 (Federal Law Gazette I, p, 1565; 1971 I, p. 38), most recently amended by Article I of the Regulations of 1 December 2010 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1737), shall cease to be effective on the day specified in subsection (1) with the following provisos:
- Traffic signs in the form as contained in the version of the present Regulations applicable until 1 July 1992 shall continue to be valid.
- For buses and coaches that were first put on the road before 8 December 2007, section 18(5)(3) shall continue to be applied in the version in force before 8 December 2007.
- Supplementary signs to sign 220 which, under the provisions applicable until 1 April 2013, permitted pedal cyclists to use the road in the opposite direction if, on a one-way street with a low volume of traffic, the maximum permissible speed is limited by traffic signs to 30 kph or less, shall remain valid until 1 April 2017.
- Signs 150, 153, 353, 380, 381, 388 and 389 installed before 1 April 2013 shall remain valid until 31 October 2022.
- Signs 311 that are already installed and whose upper part is white if the locality indicated belongs to the same municipality as the locality that has just been passed through shall remain valid.
The Bundesrat has given its consent.
*The following Annexes are not yet implemented.*
Annex 1 (to section 40(6) and (7)) General and special warning signs
(Source: Federal Law Gazette I 2013, pp. 390, 393)
Annex 2 (to section 41(1)) Regulatory signs
(Source: Federal Law Gazette I 2013, pp. 394, 410)
Annex 3 (to section 42(2)) Informatory signs
(Source: Federal Law Gazette I 2013, pp. 411, 424)
Annex 4 (to section 43(3)) Traffic installations
(Source: Federal Law Gazette I 2013, pp. 425, 427)