The Austrian National Council has passed an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act that aims to increase safety on the roads by imposing stricter penalties for traffic violations. The most significant change is the doubling of the fines for drivers caught using their mobile phones while driving.
Under the new rules, anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving will face a fine of 100 euros, up from the previous fine of 50 euros. If a driver refuses to pay the fine or is caught using their phone by a speed camera, the fine can even increase to 140 euros. Failure to wear a seat belt or a crash helmet will also result in a higher fine of 50 euros instead of the previous 35 euros.
The amendments also include changes to the training requirements for driving instructors. They are now required to attend regular training courses to improve their practical skills. Additionally, organs of Asfinag, the company that manages Austria’s highway network, are now authorized to stop special transports on the high-level road network and to carry out technical checks without the involvement of the police. This move is expected to improve safety on the roads and reduce the number of accidents caused by poorly maintained vehicles.
Another important change is the way bicycles and motor vehicles are classified. The amendment specifies that the “continuous rated power” value of 250 watts will be used to differentiate between bicycles and motor vehicles. The new law also includes the redesign of the driving license in credit card format, improved data quality of the registration record by comparing it with the company register, and sampling fuels to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
The Transport Minister, Leonore Gewessler, believes that the amendments will make it easier to enforce the law and increase road safety. The changes are following the suggestions of the traffic officers of the countries, who have long been advocating for stricter penalties for traffic violations. However, not everyone is happy with the new rules. The Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) criticized the increases as inappropriate, while the Freedom Party (FPÖ) accused the government of “ripping off the drivers.”
The Austrian government is taking steps to improve road safety by imposing stricter penalties for traffic violations. The new rules, which include higher fines for mobile phone use while driving and a mandatory training program for driving instructors, are aimed at reducing accidents and improving compliance with traffic regulations. While some groups have criticized the changes as being too harsh, the government believes that the new rules will ultimately make the roads safer for all users.