In 2024 aspiring drivers will be able to commence their driving school courses at the age of 15 years and six months. Once they reach 17 years of age, they’ll be permitted to drive a car under the supervision of a mentor for a year.
Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) announced this development during a press conference, expressing his hope that these changes will lead to improvements in road safety. The Czech Republic currently experiences 50 road deaths per million inhabitants annually, and Kupka aspires to reduce this number to below 40.
The amendment, scheduled to take effect next year, also includes modifications to the penalty points system for drivers, along with certain increases in fines. Kupka emphasized that these changes reflect the seriousness and risk levels associated with various driving offenses. Penalties will now be categorized into two, four, or six penalty points for different offenses. For instance, driving under the influence of alcohol will now result in six penalty points, down from the previous seven, but with an administrative fine increased to CZK 25,000, up from the existing CZK 20,000.
Refusing an alcohol test, driving without a license, or driving while banned will all incur a fine of up to CZK 75,000. Accumulating 12 penalty points will still result in the loss of a driver’s license, as before. On-the-spot fines will also see an increase in the maximum amount, ranging from 4500 to 5500 crowns.
Kupka cited the effectiveness of the points system in promoting road rule compliance, not only in the Czech Republic but also in other countries. He noted that the amendment aims to bring the Czech Republic closer to countries like Germany, where the annual road death rate is approximately 37 per million inhabitants.
The Ministry of Transport is now focused on educating the public about the upcoming changes introduced by the amendment. Initiatives include organizing conferences for driving schools, launching social media communications, and establishing a dedicated website for young drivers.
The amended law also introduces several preventative measures. Notably, individuals will have the opportunity to drive under the guidance of a mentor starting at the age of 17, a practice proven successful in countries like Germany and Slovakia. Additionally, newly licensed drivers, with less than two years of experience, will be required to undergo two prevention courses at their own expense if they commit a serious offense within their initial two years of driving.
Furthermore, a new feature eliminates the need for drivers to carry their licenses and vehicle certificates starting next year, earlier than the previously planned cessation date of July 1, 2025.