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Proposal recommends greater tolerance

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Drivers who driver a little faster than the speed limit might not lose any points as of next year, a new Transport Ministry proposal recommends.

For exceeding the speed limit by up to 20 km/h in town and up to 30 km/h outside town, drivers today face fines of CZK 1,000 and the loss of two points. Police are currently fining even those drivers who exceed the speed limit by a few kilometres per hour, even when odometers do not measure speed accurately.

The Transport Ministry is backing down after three years of the penalty point system and has proposed not withdrawing points for those who exceed the speed limit by only 5 km/h.

“Exceeding the speed limit by 5km/h would be punished only by a fine and not by deducting points,” Jakub Ptačinský, from the Transport Ministry press department, told Czech Television.

The change should limit cases of drivers being bullied by police, and police are not against it. “I can imagine some of the smaller offences not being punished the way they are today when it comes to points,” said Leoš Tržil, head of traffic police.

According to statistics published by the Transport Ministry in July, exceeding the speed limit by up to 20 km/h is the most common traffic violation in the country. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 km/h is only the fifth most common violation.

No more warnings
MPs should vote on the proposal at their September meeting. It is very likely the Transport Ministry’s proposal will succeed since many MPs say the penalty point system is too strict.

The penalty point system was introduced three years ago. At the end of June, 625,000 drivers — one out of every 10 — had lost at least one point. More than 20,000 drivers have reached the 12-point limit.

Other Transport Ministry proposals include minor changes to the point penalties. The ministry wants to lower the number of points for smaller offences, but they also want to introduce a new penalty for failure to indicate a turn.

ODS Senator Jiří Žák has presented a proposal which would revoke a driver’s licence after 18 points; the current limit is 12.

The biggest change, however, would be the removal of road signs which warn drivers that municipal police are measuring their speed. The ministry claims such signs are useless and would remove them as of next year, less than eight months after their introduction. Both state and local police welcome this move.

Current penalty point system
Five points for exceeding the pre-determined speed limit by 40 or more km/h within a municipality, or by 50 or more km/h outside. Also for failure to stop at a red light or when asked to stop by an officer directing traffic.

Three points for exceeding the speed limit by 20 and more km/h within a municipality, or by 30 or more km/h outside. Also for holding a phone while driving or for not stopping at pedestrian crossings as prescribed by law.

Two points for exceeding the speed limit by less than 20 km/h within a municipality, or by less than 30 km/h outside. Also for drivers who fail to use child safety seats or safety belts.

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