Czech Traffic Law Overhauled
To Address Emerging Challenges
17 JAN - Czech Republic's Road Traffic Act ran through a major overhaul to address emerging road safety challenges.
Mandatory insurance for electric scooters, learner's permit from the age of 17 and stricter penalties for offenses are among the key amendments to the act which came into force at the beginning of the year.
The new law allows individuals to obtain a learner's permit from the age of 17, with driving school courses starting at the age of 15 years and 6 months. Until reaching 18 years of age, young drivers can only drive under the supervision of an experienced driver-mentor, who may face sanctions for any mistakes. The learner's permit is valid for two years from passing the final exam, regardless of the age at which it was obtained. In case of any offense during this period, the driver undergoes a traffic-psychological interview and completes training for novice drivers. "The mentor must meet certain conditions. The basic prerequisite is that both the driver and the mentor must agree, and another prerequisite is that the mentor must have 10 years of driving experience and have held a type B driving license for 5 years. In the last 5 years, they should have not lost the right to drive a motor vehicle and have had no recorded points. The purpose of this measure is to guide young people towards greater responsibility; they can only drive under the supervision of an adult. However, responsibility is also implicitly given to those mentors. It is not the case that the seventeen-year-old drivers function as their parents' taxi. The mentor must also not be under the influence of alcohol and must not refuse a breath test," says Colonel Jiří Zlý, chief of Czech Traffic Police and ROADPOL Council member to frekvence1.cz.
Operators of electric scooters with a maximum speed exceeding 25 km/h or weighing more than 25 kg, with a speed exceeding 14 km/h, are now required to have mandatory insurance. This regulation applies to both private owners and rental services, aiming to cover potential injury expenses caused by scooters.
Simplification of the point system is another of the major revisions. The point system, tracking traffic violations and offenses, has been simplified from five levels to three. Traffic offenses will now be assigned two, four, or six points based on their severity. Lesser offenses, such as improper parking, will result in milder penalties, while more serious violations, like driving under the influence or significant speeding, will lead to increased penalties. If a driver commits two severe offenses or three moderately serious offenses, their driver's license will be revoked.
In other changes drivers will no longer be required to carry their driver's license or vehicle registration certificate at all times. A valid ID card will be sufficient for inspections.
The amendments also regard motorway speed. On selected sections the allowed speed limit on motorways is raised to 150 km/h from the previous level of 130 km/h. Thе change applies only to those sections deemed suitable and safe for this speed. Three such sections are currently planned to be operational within two years, according to the Ministry of Transport.
According to Zly the most significant tightening comes with phone manipulation while driving. "The fine for using a mobile device while driving is now significantly increased. From this year, the fine range is from 2500 to 3500 crowns (100 to 150 euro), with 4 penalty points. I have criticized this offense several times, because lack of attention to driving is one of the most common causes of crashes. Every fifth accident is due to lack of attention to driving", concludes Colonel Zly.