VORSICHT: The penalty for talking on the phone while driving doubled to 100 euros

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Violations of seat belt and helmet requirements will cost 50 euros in the future instead of the previous 35.

On Wednesday, the federal government launched a comprehensive amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act (KFG) in the Council of Ministers. Among other things, this is intended to increase the fines for violations of the cell phone ban at the wheel or against the seat belt and helmet obligation.

There will also be numerous new regulations for driving schools and driving instructor training.

The 41st KFG amendment must first be passed in the National Council. The Conference of Traffic Officers of the Federal Provinces has already spoken out to increase the statutory penalty amounts for violations of the cell phone ban at the wheel or violations of the seat belt or helmet requirement in 2021.

Currently, organ mandates for the cell phone ban are 50 euros and for the seat belt and helmet obligation, 35 euros. These amounts are too low “to still have a deterrent effect,” according to the impact assessment. Therefore, the charges to be levied with an administrative penalty order will be increased from 50 euros to 100 euros (cell phone violation) and from 35 euros to 50 euros (seat belt/helmet).

If a report is made to the authorities, the fine to be imposed by the authorities will be increased from 72 euros to 140 euros (cell phone ban) or from 72 euros to 100 euros (seat belt/helmet). This is to apply as early as May 1.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, 88,394 violations of the seat belt requirement were recorded throughout Austria in 2022. One hundred thirty thousand five hundred forty drivers were reported for using the phone without a hands-free device or punished on the spot using an administrative penalty order.

Further changes
The obligation to wear a helmet for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and quads were previously restricted to four-wheeled motor vehicles. In the meantime, however, such cars are also available in six-wheeled versions. The previous obligation about the crash helmet requirement and the regulation on the carriage of children should also apply to such six-wheeled vehicles.

Due to cases of abuse in the approval of transfer journeys and the use of transfer license plates, an “Austria reference” will be created as a criterion in the future. The 41st KFG amendment also provides that specially trained Asfinag employees may inspect special transports on freeways and expressways without police involvement.

More precise regulations will apply in the future to driving school owners and driving school managers. In addition, the training of driving school instructors will be redesigned, and a driving instructor’s card in credit card format will be introduced.

Likewise, anyone who deregisters a car can keep the license plate free. A new vehicle must be registered to the same registered owner within six months, after which the old license plates can be taken over. Because there are an increasing number of cases where new vehicles are not delivered on time and the six-month period for keeping the license plate free expires, this period is now to be extended to twelve months.

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