Traffic rules Germany - safety vest mandatory in the car in Germany from July 1, 2014
The safety vest (also referred to as reflective or fluorescent vest) has been a part of a vehicle’s mandatory equipment for a long time now. In many European countries, however, the efficiency of the safety vest have been enhanced by a new regulation.
Safety vest mandatory in the passenger compartment in Germany
From July 2014, Germany joins the already large group of countries in Europe, where it is mandatory to carry the safety vest in the passenger compartments and not in the trunk.
As the studies show, wearing the reflective vest increases dramatically the visibility of the pedestrian on the road. As an example: at dusk the visibility of a person not wearing the vest is around 80 meters, while with the fluorescent vest on, it is 150 meters, nearly double.
To enhance the chances of being seen by other road users, the driver, or passengers, who need to leave the car due to an accident, engine failure of puncture, should have the reflective vest at hand. Therefore, the vest should not be stored in the trunk, but in the passenger compartment where it can easily be reached, for example in the door pockets or in the glove compartment.
In Germany the fluorescent vest (safety vest) is called warnweste.
In which countries safety vest must be carried inside the vehicle?
Apart form Germany, in the summer 2014 carrying the safety vest inside the passenger compartment is mandatory in the following coutries:
Fines for missing safety vest
In Germany the fine for not carrying the safety vest inside the vehicle is EUR 15. However, in many countries in Europe, failing to have the vest available or wear it when necessary, can be quite expensive with fines reaching even EUR 600.
In Portugal for example, the traffic police (GNR), can issue a fine of EUR 60 if no reflective vest is presented during a routine traffic control. The fine is much higher (up to EUR 600) if the driver, or passenger, is not wearing the yellow safety vest when outside the car stopped due to a breakdown or accident. In France the violation of the safety vest regulations may result in fines from EUR 90. In Spain, drivers stepping out of a vehicle stopped on the road incur a fine of EUR 100.
If you are planning to rent a car in Germany: all German hire cars are equipped with safety vests complying with traffic regulations.