Speeding ticket from Tunnel in Germany

Old Oct 1st, 2015, 04:50 PM
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Speeding ticket from Tunnel in Germany

Dear worldly Travelers: I have recently just returned from a fabulous trip to Europe and mainly to Germany.

My friend, who lent me the car just informed me, 2 weeks after I got back, that I received a speeding ticket (89 KPM / 50KPM zone). I had NO idea. I was really just trying to stay on the road out of trouble and kind of just following how other people drive.

Apparently speeding in Tunnel is a big deal...

I am back to USA now, and am wondering what I should do? I don't want to get my friend into trouble any kind of trouble. Can I contest it with a written letter?

Thanks for your helps!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:05 PM
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Why would you contest it? Following other people is not the same as following the law. Being a tourist is no excuse. Traffic laws are written for the safety of other people and you were driving recklessly in a tunnel.

Pay the fine, and make sure the authorities know that it was you behind the wheel and not your friend.

Thank you for reminding everybody to know the speed limit when they drive, even in a foreign country.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:06 PM
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What would you contest? Do you think the speed detection was faulty?
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:42 PM
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The thing was that I was keeping a safe distance from other vehicles and I didn't really think about the speed limit...I was following the flow of the traffic. I get the part about following rules...probably didn't pay attention to the sign...

I didn't know it was 50 KPH. I was there mostly in Germany for a month, and drove a lot, I remember seeming 80 KPH entering tunnels in places...I can't remember, I was so into the trip and the things to do since I was traveling along and try not get hit or hit anyone.

Paying fine is no problem...I just want to know what could happen...

thanks
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 05:43 PM
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Will definitely defend my friend who graciously lent me the car for the trip!
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 08:47 PM
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"Following the traffic" doesn't work in the USA either; I got a big speeding fine for doing that.

I got my German drivers license a few years ago, and I can tell you they are seriously serious about the speed limit. My instructor would have a fit if I weren't going the speed limit AT the sign (not 10m past the sign).

I don't think you'll be successful if you contest it --

s
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 10:10 PM
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Assuming that the speed limit is posted correctly at that tunnel and that the speed detection had also been correctly:

Speeding of more than 31kph but less than 40kph OUTSIDE city limits:

€ 120, and one penalty point

Speeding of more than 31kph but less than 40kph INSIDE city limits:

€ 160, two penalty points, and revokation of drivers licence for 1 month.

The burden to pay will be on the driver, not the owner of the vehicle.
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Old Oct 1st, 2015, 11:54 PM
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Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law, if your friend can prove he/she was not driving nothing will happen her/him.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 12:19 AM
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And if your friend tells the authorities you were driving, the fine will find its way to you. Nowadays they often use overseas-based debt collecting agencies to enforce payment. If you don't, and should you return to Germany, your details are logged with fine defaulters' database and you can be arrested.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 12:31 AM
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and a special chip will be inserted into you creating major emission problems.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 01:08 AM
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You do not get "arrested" for failing to pay traffic fines in Germany. This may be legal nitpicking, but the non- or late payment of a traffic ticket is not an offense on its own.

What can happen, worst case scenario, is that - upon next arrival - you will be stopped at the border and detained until you pay the fines (plus extra costs for legal proceedings). Which could be, for a €120 fine, in the vicinity of €200 eventually. Assuming that the speeding incident did not happen within city limits, revokation of license is not an issue anyway.

When you pay, you're off the hook immediately.
When you refuse to pay, a court can put you in jail for a proportionate number of days (coercive detention) to convince you to pay.


What are the next steps:

Your friend has received the letter from, typically the respective county, informing him/her of the traffic violation and giving him opportunity to comment. It should have a photo evidence from the speeding camera attached.
If he accepts the penalty, it will put one point to his record. Which is more an issue than the €120 fine.

Your friend can send back the comment that he has not driving but you. If both of you don't wish to complicate matters, he should give the authority your name and address.
AND - IMPORTANT: Send back this information by registered letter to have proof of the DATE he sent it back.

From this date on, the clock starts ticking and the authority has 3 months to issue and send you a ticket.

If they fail to do so within this time, the fine is void.

If you receive the ticket within 3 months, your friend can help you to pay by direct debit. German authorities usually don't offer the opportunity to pay by credit card from abroad.
You can re-imburse your friend by whatever way you find suitable.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 01:14 AM
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I got a fine in a tunnel too in Germany. This tunnel was connecting a highway to a city. I went back there recently, and guess what : there were nice visible signals telling me I should drive 50 kmh.

What is sure is that you'll put your friend in some problems, since he will have to deal with authorities and convince them he was not driving.

You'd do something to me, I would be sure you wouldn't drive my car anymore, regardless of the outcome.

Just obey the law, and pay your fine.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 01:37 AM
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The important thing now is that your friend doesn't suffer for his/her act of generosity in lending you the car. That reminds me of the old saying: "No good deed goes unpunished".

Make sure that you are reported as the driver, and pay the fine if you are issued the ticket. As Cowboy1968 wrote, the point on your friend's driving record may have more serious consequences than the fine.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 06:13 AM
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"I had NO idea. I was really just trying to stay on the road out of trouble and kind of just following how other people drive... Apparently speeding in Tunnel is a big deal... Can I contest it with a written letter?"

So you were paying no attention to the posted speed limit, but you want to contest it?

You sound like a pretty typical USA driver - speed limits are not absolute limits that are there to save lives - just annoying suggestions that you can ignore (unless you happen to see a cop around, which is fairly rare in the USA.) German driving attitudes are much better shaped by the watchful eyes of radar guns all over the place. I SO wish we did things the German way here.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 07:37 AM
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Excellent post from a pedestrian...
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Pay the fine. It's the right thing to do. Especially since the car belongs to your friend, and there will be ramifications for him.

I received a speeding ticket in Germany last year. I had no idea I was going over the speed limit, but they had a picture of my rental car, with my speed indicated.

It was a major hassle to pay it, as the banks I consulted couldn't seem to wire-transfer the payment.

In desperation, I finally sent cash in a registered letter to the physical addresses of the rental company and the local traffic authority.

I kept copies of everything I had done, so that if there was any question of whether I'd paid, I had proof.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 08:11 AM
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Good one, pariswat!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 09:06 AM
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Being so into the trip that you ignore all of the traffic signs is a really bad idea. In my experience the speed limit in the tunnels is usually much lower since the havoc created if an accident should occur would be massive. Plus, lanes are narrower and you are often driving directly next to massive trucks going in the opposite direction.

I know many people think they can drive any speed in Germany, and there are places without limits - but for quite a few years there have been limits near some major cities and always have been through the major tunnels.

Obviously pay the fine and make it clear it was you and not your friend. And if driving again in europe consider following the rules.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 09:50 AM
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Motorists at some point become pedestrians too.

In 2012 more than 80,000 US pedestrians were injured or killed by motorists, many of whom were not paying attention to speed limits, driving drunk, and the like.

Radar speed traps help protect pedestrians and motorists alike. In Germany it's the certainty of the penalty - not just the size of the ticket - that makes for the mostly civilized driving that takes place there. In the US, our heavy fines make €120 seem laughable - but then, violators only get caught, what? Maybe 1% of the time? Pretty low risk of getting caught.

"...people think they can drive any speed in Germany..."

So true. But in most places the only way to hit 250 km/hr is on the train.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 12:42 PM
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Hey, all: thank you for the comments and suggestions. I guess I am one of the unlucky ones who got caught speeding, without knowing that I was in 50 KPH zone instead of 80.

Paying the fine is easy and completely cool, I just hope there is no jail time?! I was told by someone, that it could be the case if a German citizen were caught doing so.

If paying fine is the solution, that's an easy fix. For sure, won't drag the friend into this mess!

I am looking forward to the next trip to Europe! After paying the fine, of course! I'll pay very special attention to speedlimit signs.

Thank you all, and especially Cowboy1968, I was hoping you'd comment on the situation, sounded like you know quite a lot about how to deal with situations in Germany! Danke!

J
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