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Old 09.04.2010, 13:56
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Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

There seem to be a lot of threads, speculation, horror stories etc, relating to Traffic Offences in Switzerland. I’m looking to answer some of the more FAQ here, so we can avoid some of the drag-on discussions that waste digital space.

Q. I have moved to Switzerland. Back in my home country, I was a frequent speeder / traffic offender / fender bender. I’m probably gonna break traffic laws here. What can I do before hand?

A. Good question, glad you’re pro-active and aware that you’re vehicularly challenged. Firstly, obtain traffic legal insurance – known in german-speaking Switzerland as Verkehrs-Rechtsschutzversicherung. If you haven’t choked on that word already, it costs about 200chf a year… you can combine it with non-traffic insurance.

Make sure your car is roadworthy, that you carry your licence, registration, passport and resident permit at all times. Also, ensure your car has a current emissions-test certificate.

Q. I let others use my car. What if something happens and someone else is driving?

A. If you own the car, you are responsible for knowing who is driving at any given time, and that they are licensed to do so. If you use another person’s car, it is useful to have a separate insurance that cover’s the cost if you are at fault in an accident, freeing the owner of liability.

Q. I think I got caught on a speed camera…it flashed. What happens now? Will I lose my licence?


A. Depends on how fast you were going. Less serious infringements take normally up to 3 weeks to arrive in the mail, and require a fixed payment within 30 days or so and the matter is dealt with. Court-determined penalties take longer, and in serious cases may even involve a personal visit from police or an "invitation" to attend a police station. Please refer to this table of penalties and administrative action for speeding.

UPDATE : See also this thread regarding law change from January 2013 - http://www.englishforum.ch/transport...new-fines.html

Q. I got caught by a camera speeding, and I was on the phone/not wearing a seatbelt as well. Will I get a fine for both?

A. Most likely, yes. Depends on the camera angle.

Q. Are red light cameras also speed cameras? Do they operate as speed cameras when the lights are off or flashing yellow?

A. Newer models have a dual-function..and yes, the speed detection function also works when the lights are off or flashing yellow.

Q. Do police have to stop me to issue me with a traffic fine?


A. No.They can post a fine or summons to the registered owner, who is assumed to be the driver.

Q. I got stopped by the police for X offence, and he asked if I wanted to pay the fine in cash on the spot. Is this allowed or is this corruption?


A. In Switzerland, you can (and in some cases as a non-resident, must ) pay cash for fixed-penalty offences. You must demand / receive an official receipt for the full amount.

Q. I got caught on a speed camera travelling closer to the speed of sound than the speed limit. I can’t afford to lose my licence. Can I nominate another person who is willing to take the fall?

A. Rule #1 – don’t lie to the police...they don’t like it ,it hurts their feelings and it makes them quite upset, especially here in Switzerland. And considering that the resolution of Swiss traffic cameras is enough to easily identify your surprised-bunny-in-the-headlights melon behind the wheel..you’ll get caught out and dealt with accordingly. And then it goes way beyond a traffic offence..you’re talking something similar to perverting the course of justice.

Q. I’ve got caught, got fined, and now I got a letter from the SVA saying I have to hand in my licence. But the letter does not state how long. What’s going on here?


A. The length of licence cancellation is subject to adjudication as well. If you have legal insurance, they’ll help you with this. Otherwise you can make your own representations. Depending on the offence and previous traffic history, there are minimum cancellation periods.

Q. Can I decide when I hand my licence in?

A. Within tolerances, yes. You can negotiate with the SVA on this.

Q. I’ve lost my licence. If I stick to the law, should I continue driving?

A. Do you want to dance with the devil? Driving unlicensed is very serious in Switzerland…in addition, you are not covered by insurance in the event of an accident.

Q. Do traffic offences end up on my criminal history?


A. Depends on the severity. Over a certain penalty you will receive an entry in the Strafregister (criminal register). High speeding fines, drink driving, etc. will be registered.

Q. I want to apply for naturalisation (Swiss Passport). Will my traffic history influence the application?


A. Unless the offence is entered in the Strafregister, most likely no. However in cases of standard naturalisation process, it has been known to be a deal-breaker.

Q. What is the legal alcohol limit here?

A. 0.5 pro mil (whatever that is …similar to 0.05 gr of alcohol per 100ml of blood.) Random breath testing is not a common here as in UK / Australia, but getting caught is dealt with severely, especially in the event of an accident.

Q. Are there any offences which I should particularly avoid?

A. Yes, all of them. But in particular the following, as they are not fixed penalty, and are likely to involve licence loss:

* Crossing or driving over unbroken lines (consider these lines as brick walls!)

* Undertaking (overtaking on the right side including multi-laned roads).

* Driving contrary to rail crossing lights (even if the barrier is on the way up)

* Not giving way to pedestrians at crossings

* Drink driving

* Multiple offences at the same time (eg. speeding and overtaking on the right whilst talking on your phone).
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Last edited by mirfield; 11.02.2013 at 11:07. Reason: Added update for January 2013 speeding law change
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Old 15.04.2010, 16:46
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

An example of a fine you receive in the mail, in this case it's for speeding (yes it's mine...damn stapo and their mobile laser money printers ).

As you can see, there are plenty of german words long enough to choke a giraffe... Verkehrsüberwachungsgerät is simply... a traffic camera. So I'll help you de-mystify these things...

THE FRONT SIDE:



A. Title - Speeding Fine (other Titles might include "Ordungsbusse") Under that is the text indicating the detection method.. in this case, an automatic camera.

B. Reference to the Offence in the Statutes.

C. Vehicle Registration

D. Vehicle type (PW = small car, LKW = Truck, etc.)

E. Place of Offence

F. Direction of travel at time of offence

G. Measured speed

H. Tolerance deduction (in this case 3km/h - stationary laser)

I / J Speed after deduction.

K. Speed limit

L. Speed limit exceeded by (the important number!)

M. The fixed penalty -payable with the payment slip below

N. Text stating that if the payment is received within 30 days, then it's anonymously dealt with and not registered (yeah, right..) If you wish to contest it you can by writing to the address. You can only request the camera photo if contested. If you don't pay on time, then it goes to court automatically. Late payments won't be accepted and will be returned.

THE BACK:



1. Driver nomination

2. If someone else was driving, you can give him/her the fine yourself. If it's paid on time, then it's buried...no cry, no foul.

3. If you can't do that, fill in the form with the DRIVER'S DETAILS.. (they already know everything about you).

4. Be aware, that if you own the vehicle, you have to be able to tell the police who is driving.

5. Falsely declaring another driver will be dealt with as a CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

6. If you can't be bothered fighting over who was driving, then just give us the money...we won't bother you anymore.

If you did fill in the form:

7. cross this if you informed the driver of the fine on this date, along with the payment slip.

8. Cross this if the nominated driver disputes the fine and wants to go to court.
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Last edited by litespeed; 15.04.2010 at 17:09. Reason: minor cosmetic adjustments
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Old 29.04.2010, 12:04
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

Great Thread.
Here is a link to the Mobility section of ch.ch which gives some of the Transport Laws which can help you to avoid the above.

I've written and asked them to check this part and up-date it as the Child's seat Law, at least, changed since it was written.

The Official Version for those who can read German.
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Old 29.04.2010, 12:14
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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Many thanks for this very useful post. I just received my first one of these yesterday (and hopefully last) and was wondering what it was all about!
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Old 09.05.2010, 21:19
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

I just got my first one of these too, only 7 over so no tears. I was surprised at the deduction though, the deduction is to allow for possible errors in their equipment? not possible inaccuracy in the vehicles speedo? That seems pretty harsh, in the UK you get a 10% allowance. The swiss constabulary assume all cars are bang on?
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Old 10.05.2010, 14:06
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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I just got my first one of these too, only 7 over so no tears. I was surprised at the deduction though, the deduction is to allow for possible errors in their equipment? not possible inaccuracy in the vehicles speedo? That seems pretty harsh, in the UK you get a 10% allowance. The swiss constabulary assume all cars are bang on?
There is a number "discount" on fixed installations (road furniture traps) - depending on where you get caught depends how many kph you get "off" your speed.

There is a percentage discount when the Rozzers chase you. This allows for the fact that they are moving to measure your moving speed.

Both need calibrating often.

The fact that your speedo is not accurate is not an issue for the police (in this situation). It is also why speedos tend to over-read.

It's done differently here to the UK. You don't get points and you don't have to nominate a driver (within pre-set limits).

I think it's ok. You pay and go faster if you wish. Or you speed sensibly and rarely get nicked...
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Old 25.05.2010, 10:08
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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The fact that your speedo is not accurate is not an issue for the police (in this situation). It is also why speedos tend to over-read.

Speedometers do not tend but are designed to over-read and it is a certification requirement (that is also embodied in a EU directive, believe it or not).
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Old 25.05.2010, 09:59
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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I just got my first one of these too, only 7 over so no tears. I was surprised at the deduction though, the deduction is to allow for possible errors in their equipment? not possible inaccuracy in the vehicles speedo? That seems pretty harsh, in the UK you get a 10% allowance. The swiss constabulary assume all cars are bang on?
No, it is assumed that your car's speedo reads 2 to 4% fast. Which most of them do, assuming that they are at factory calibration and you are using the "correct" sized tires for your make and model. This, of course, means that if you drive at the indicated speed according to your instruments, you can't ever be caught speeding.

Get a SatNav device that shows your speed and you will find that it is within 1 to 2 km/h even at speeds of over 120 km/h. I know this because, I recently paid a ticket for speeding because I missed the speed limit change and I know how fast I thought I was going at the time.

BTW, the mobile speed traps in the little vans take the photo of everyone who is driving over the limit, even by one km/h. You won't actually get a ticket for it unless you are more than 5 over. They do this to unnerve.
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Old 11.12.2010, 20:03
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

really useful thread - thanks.

Just quickly - why don't people indicate when driving on the roundabouts? If someone drives into me from my left (because I have gone onto the roundabout assuming the driver is going straight ahead) am I to blame?
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Old 11.12.2010, 20:44
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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really useful thread - thanks.

Just quickly - why don't people indicate when driving on the roundabouts? If someone drives into me from my left (because I have gone onto the roundabout assuming the driver is going straight ahead) am I to blame?
If you are on the roundabout, you technically are going straight ahead.
If you want to enter the roundabout you have to give way to everyone that is on it
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Old 11.12.2010, 20:45
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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Just quickly - why don't people indicate when driving on the roundabouts? If someone drives into me from my left (because I have gone onto the roundabout assuming the driver is going straight ahead) am I to blame?
Roundabouts are fairly new to the Swiss, 15 years ago there were hardly any in the country. But when the discovered they slowed down traffic, the authorities set out to convert every junction to a roundabout.

At the same time they thought they could improve on the system used in the UK for the last 70 years (where one signals where one is going) to a new system better suited to the Swiss motorist who is loathed to signal at any time. The authorities realised some sort of signal, however minimal was required, so they devise the idea that one only signals when leaving a roundabout.

The fact that this is less save is unimportant. Was is important is that the Swiss have devised a different way of driving round roundabouts.

Wait till you find our what they now advise cyclists to do at roundabouts...
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Old 11.12.2010, 21:00
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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Roundabouts are fairly new to the Swiss, 15 years ago there were hardly any in the country. But when the discovered they slowed down traffic, the authorities set out to convert every junction to a roundabout.
Not forgetting, prior to roundabouts appearing here, most drivers previous experience of them, was across the border in France, where their system is completely reversed; i.e. vehicles already "on" the roundabout have to give-way/yield to those wishing to enter - many still believe the same applies here, with nut-numbing consequences. Combine that, with the fact that the majority of roundabouts here are tidily, -- you're on and off in a flash.

It's no wonder no one signals - too much to think about, as it is.
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Old 07.02.2011, 09:30
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

Tbh I was really surprised to see that here, while i'm in a roundabout, 99% of the people coming in break at the very last second, scaring the **** out of me.
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Old 07.02.2011, 22:27
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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I recommend this ...

'THE ROUNDABOUTS OF REDDITCH' -
12 stunning shots of the very best traffic- islands Worcestershire had to offer.


http://www.roundaboutsofbritain.com/

My home towns gift to the world.

I was bought up in the new town and it never surprises me the number of people who have no idea how to use the things. If approached correctly and efficiently they are much faster than traffic lights to cross as it's a constant traffic flow.
Only if equal amounst of traffic come from all directions, if not, one lane ends up waiting "forever" with a constant stream of traffic coming down the other way...
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Old 07.02.2011, 11:56
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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Not forgetting, prior to roundabouts appearing here, most drivers previous experience of them, was across the border in France, where their system is completely reversed; i.e. vehicles already "on" the roundabout have to give-way/yield to those wishing to enter.
This has never been the case in France. Those on the roundabout have always had priority... officially anyway, which doesn't help clear up the debris.

The issue was that the French didn't know this, due to the "priority from the right" rule. However, if you go to France you will note that every roundabout has a give-way sign (or they nearly all do). The didn't when they were first launched, but clearly they learnt their lesson.

What frustrates me is when people "stop" at roundabouts rather than giving way. FFS, the roundabout is empty, you don't need to stop!
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Old 07.02.2011, 12:12
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

No they didn't Carlos. Originally the Priorite Rue a droite applied on roundabouts - until they realised it didn't work and changed the priority.

We had the same conversation in the office a few weeks back - and the 2 French guys were most animated about their countries roundabout history
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Old 02.10.2012, 12:31
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

I was in Zurich 2 weeks ago and was stopped at passport control as I entered and told I had an outstanding fine for a speeding offence in May 2006. I had been back to Switzerland several times since that date and had never been stopped at passport control. I have been sent the details of the offence which took place when I hired a car and was caught driving at 81 kmh in a 50 kmh zone in Zurich. My home address on the hire document and from the police is spelt incorrectly.

Firstly, is there any time limit in which a fine for a speeding offence must be issued ? Secondly, is the fact that I have been back to Switzerland on several occasions and not been stopped of any relevance ? Thirdly, can you get off on a technicality if the address is spelt incorrectly ? And fourthly, if I do have to pay the fine what level of fine can I expect.
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Old 02.10.2012, 12:57
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

there was a guy from the UK that got caught speeding here ( had a letter delivered by the local UK plod) and in finding out all the infos, it came up that the unpaid fine stays on the register for 3 or 5 years and then is removed - cant remember which.

i think someone posted on here about it once also, might be worth checking into...


Oh and prepare yourself for the wild screams of PAY, PAY, PAY from many other members.

for your questions

1. fines are issued many months after the event, whats the actual law regarding the time limits - not a clue
2.doubt it
3.doubt it - i know it makes no difference in other countries

4. look at the first post for fine amounts. HOWEVER, the person in UK did put a vey low annual wage on the request form.

UK doesnt have any cross border agreement in relation to motoring offences with CH BTW.
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Old 02.10.2012, 13:01
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

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Firstly, is there any time limit in which a fine for a speeding offence must be issued ? Secondly, is the fact that I have been back to Switzerland on several occasions and not been stopped of any relevance ? Thirdly, can you get off on a technicality if the address is spelt incorrectly ? And fourthly, if I do have to pay the fine what level of fine can I expect.
1. No. 2. No. 3. No.

4. 81 in a 50 will need to go to court. Expect something in the order of 600 francs upwards. Oh, hang on, just noticed the London location, so you're not Swiss resident? Better make it more like 1000.

Seriously.
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Old 30.08.2013, 11:01
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Re: Traffic Offences - Q & A Bullet points

Is this an offense that will cause you to lose your license? My husband just sent this to me this morning:

I was driving to work and I turned left onto a street that it is forbidden to do so. The police pulled me over, and I think I might have to make a traffic court appearance...

Or will this just incur a hefty fine? Any ideas?

Thanks!
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