Holidays abroad: Where parking and speeding are particularly expensive

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In the exuberance of a summer holiday, you shouldn’t forget certain rules, especially regarding road traffic: The traffic regulations and costs for traffic offences abroad can differ from those in Austria. ‘Before setting off on holiday, you should learn about local traffic regulations. In principle, what is taboo at home should also be taboo abroad,’ said ÖAMTC lawyer Verena Pronebner on Thursday.

Alcoholized: Severe penalties in Italy and Spain
Anyone who drives too fast, parks incorrectly or is under the influence of alcohol in popular holiday destinations can face heavy fines, vehicle confiscation or even imprisonment. ‘In Italy, the vehicle is even confiscated if the drink-driving level is at least 1.5 per mille,’ says the expert, at least if the driver and owner are the same person. In Spain, drivers with a blood alcohol level of 1.2 per mille face a three-month prison sentence. Generally speaking, if you exceed the (usually 0.5) blood alcohol limit, you are liable to high fines – in Germany, Italy and Spain, for example, this can be upwards of 500 euros.

Where speeding is costly
You also have to dig deep into your pockets for speeding offences. Speeding is costly in Scandinavia; if you exceed the speed limit by 20 km/h, you must pay at least 620 euros in Norway, 215 euros in Sweden and at least 200 euros in Finland. In Italy, such speeding offences cost at least 175 euros, and even a third more at night.

Wrong parking
‘If you don’t park your car properly, you won’t get off cheaply in some countries. In Spain, you can be fined up to 200 euros for parking illegally,’ explains the ÖAMTC expert. ‘Not only parking in an unauthorised place, but also without a ticket, can be expensive: Club members still receive claims for around 200 euros because they parked without a ticket in Croatia years ago. Therefore, Be sure to inform yourself on-site.’

Usually cheaper if you pay straight away
‘If you get a fine abroad, it is generally most efficient and cheapest if you pay it on the spot,’ recommends the ÖAMTC lawyer. In some countries, considerable discounts are also granted if you pay quickly: in Spain, for example, only half the amount is due if the fine is paid within 20 days. In Italy, a discount of 30 per cent is possible if the fine is paid within five days of being served – however, if the fine is not paid within 60 days, the fine amount is doubled.

Don’t ignore parking tickets
Unpaid fines from other EU countries can be enforced in Austria. Therefore, foreign speeding tickets should not be ignored under any circumstances. It is also possible to claim the fine when re-entering your holiday destination.

New EU regulations
To improve safety on European roads and punish traffic offences across borders, EU countries are already working closely together in vehicle and owner data exchange. Revising the corresponding EU directive will make it easier to automatically query vehicle owners for other offences, such as hit-and-run or dangerous overtaking, in 2026.

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