Cross boarder road traffic accidents

If you had an accident in your own country of residence with a car with a foreign license plate or if you had an accident in another country of residence, the managing organisation in Europe is the Council of Bureaux (CoB). It will help you to handle your claim in your home country.

Here you will find quickly the solutions:


No compulsory insurance and license plate requirement for e-bikes

The European Council and the European Parliament have agreed to change the motor vehicle insurance regulations to improve cooperation across the EU. In this context the parties also agreed that e-bikes should continue to be exempt from the regulations. For more information visit the homepage of the European Parliament:
The original plan of the European Commission was to include e-bikes in the directive on motor vehicle liability insurance. Until now it was not compulsory for drivers of e-bikes who do not driver faster than 25 km/h to take out insurance.
The European Council and the European Parliament refrained from these plans. The reasoning of this decision could have been the Argumentation by the European cyclist Foundation. They feared, that if the use of e-bikes were regulated, cycling would become unattractive for many. Therefore, a clear line should be drawn between bicycles (which include e-bikes) and motor vehicles. For more information:
As a result, nothing changes for the riders of e-bikes with the decision. There is no compulsory liability insurance at EU level for e-bikes that drive a maximum of 25 km/h. Nevertheless, the member states are free to issue their own rules. In addition, e-bikes riders can voluntarily take out liability insurance.


Obligation in France to inform about the blind spot

From January 1st this year, vehicles with a total weight from 3.5 tons have to be fitted a sign which informs about the blind spot. A violation will result in a fourth class fine of minimum 135€, in the worst case even 750€.
Just as domestic cars, drivers of vehicles registered abroad who only use French roads for their transit must comply with the labelling requirement. Only agricultural and forestry vehicles as well as winter service vehicles and service vehicles on motorways and expressways are exempt from the obligation. That means despite efforts by the French motorhome associations, larger motorhomes must also confirm with this regulation.
It is expected that the sticker is fixed in a high between 0.9 and 1.5 meters. In addition, they must be placed in such a way that the visibility of the truck license plate, the lighting and the signalling devices and the driver’s field of vision are not impaired. There is the possibility to buy a legally complaint sign at the French Association of International Road Transport (AFTRI).
The regulation does not provide for an exception for vehicles which have already a mark. Only in a transition period of 12 months there will be no punishment for the drivers of vehicles with a comparable labelling.
This new requirement is intended to improve the mobility for other traffic members. Especially the danger from veering truck for pedestrians and cyclists should be lowered. Through the sign other traffic members should be more sensitized for this danger, so that they will stay in the save zone.
In Germany is also a new regulation to promote a higher traffic security. The bonus for scrapped trucks is tied to the installation of a turning assistant. The turning assistant recognize a danger and informs the driver or automatically brakes the truck. Currently there is no mandatory introduction of the turning assistant.
Regulation Art. R313-32-1 Code de la Route,


Judgment of the EJC on passenger rights in shipping

The European Court of Justice clarified its decision from 2.9.2021 (C-570/19), that passenger would have to be given the choice in the case of a cancellation of whether they want to reach the destination by other means or have the fare reimbursed. In the opinion of the court, the regulation on passenger rights in sea and inland waterway transport (Regulation No. 1177/2010) also guarantees passenger rights even during shipping on the high seas and even when the ship is still in the shipyard.
The judgment was based on a dispute between the shipping company Irish Ferries and the National Transport Authority of Ireland. Irish Ferries had to cancel trips for months between Cherbourg in France and Dublin in Ireland, because an additionally ordered ferry was not delivered in time. Alternative ports or land transport were offered to passengers. According to the ECJ, this was not enough, and Irish Ferries must pay a compensation for the extra time that was necessary for the alternative transport.
The ECJ recognized the legal situation as follows: In case of cancellation of a shipping transport, the passenger has according to Art. 18 of the regulation the right for an alternative transport and according to Art. 19 of the regulation the right for compensation, the amount of which is based on the length of the delay. As an alternative, the passenger can have the fare reimbursed. The fact, that the ship was not delivered in time, does not establish any exceptional circumstances which allows a restriction of the rights of passengers.
The shipping company is now threatened with compensation claims. However, the ruling of the ECJ strengthens the right of the passengers.


UK Driving License Fraud

The Federal Court of Justice in Germany has sentenced a defendant in criminal proceedings for fraud in 37 cases and attempted fraud in nine cases to a total imprisonment of four years and three months. You can find the official press release at:
The decision concerned a matter in which the defendant offered a successful brokerage of the English driver’s license for a fee of 1,200€ between the beginning of 2012 and the beginning of 2018. In doing so, he withheld from the contracting parties, that the issue of an English driving license requires a place of residence in England. Therefore, the customers did not receive an English driver’s license. For more information about the English driving license visit the official website:
The Federal Court of Justice decided that the successful brokerage of the driver’s license for the payment of the fee was decisive for the customers. None of the customers received an English driver’s license due to the lack of a residence requirement. In the opinion of the court, the defendant knew this from the start. However, all that mattered to him was to permanently enrich himself with the fee interrogation. The court thus came to the decision, that the criminal offenses existed.
This fact shows that consumer should inform themselves about the requirements before entering a brokerage of foreign driving licenses to avoid fraud.




No compensation for a hard flight landing

In its judgment of 12.5.2021, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that a hard landing that led to a herniated disc does not constitute an accident within the meaning of Art. 17 Montreal Convention (C-70/20). The judges argued that the landing corresponded to the normal operation of an airplane and the perception of the landing by the passenger as an unexpected event does not allow any other assessment.
The parties involved in the proceedings were an Austrian woman, who suffered a herniated disc on landing on the flight from Vienna to St. Gallen, and an Austrian airline. The plaintiff wanted to claim damages of € 69,000 for her violation based on Art. 17 Montreal Convention. For this an accident would have to have happened on board the aircraft. The airline defended itself, arguing that the landing is part of the normal operation of the aircraft.
The lower Austrian courts already rejected a claim under Art. 17 Montreal Convention. The ECJ also agreed. The judges assumed that the landing was a normal process of the flight, and that the hardness of the landing was foreseeable due to the alpine location of the runway and therefore no pilot error occurred. The result does not change if it is an unexpected event for the passenger.
The Montreal Convention is ratification by 137 parties. All members and the European Union itself and further European states like the United Kingdom, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, and the Balkan states have ratified the Convention. Therefore, the case law of the European Court of Justice on Art.
17 Montreal Convention will also have an impact on passenger rights there. You can find all signature states at:


Short-haul flights will be banned in France in the future

The change in the law prohibits flights if rail alternatives could cover the trip in 2,5 hoers or less. It only applies to a few domestic routes. The flight connections most affected are on the one hand Paris and Nantes and Lyon and Bordeaux on the other. This ban is part of a comprehensive legislative package on climate protection. The French national assembly has already passed the law and in June the senate still must give its approval.
The criticism is that only domestic flights are affected. For example, short-haul flights from France to neighbouring countries are not affected by the ban. Connecting flights are also not covered by the amendment to the law. Nevertheless, with the short-haul ban, France is making an important contribution to climate protection.
However, scepticism about the need for short-haul flight with regard to climate protection is nothing new in Europe. Already in the 2019 European election campaign, proposals were made to ban flights of less than 1,5000 kilometres. Even back then, there was agreement that taking the train must be more attractive than flying over the short distance.
Since then, the restriction of short-haul flights has been an issue in European large-area countries on the political agenda. For effective environmental protection, a uniform European specification would make sense here.


Flying Taxis in Munich and Nürnberg

By 2025, electronic air taxis should start at German airports. The airports of Munich and Nuremberg, but also other airports could serve as junction. The plan is to build a better connection between the locations. The price level should be comparable to conventional means of transport.
The planner is the German start-up lilium. The jets should have space for seven passengers.
They should start vertical and then fly horizontally up to 250 kilometres. The maximum speed level should be 280 kilometres per hour. The serial production of the jets should start in 2025.
In the long term, the jets should be able to fly autonomously without a pilot.
Lilium is not the only company which has its focus on air-taxis. Also, the German manufacturer Volocopter or the University RWTH Aachen have already completed flight tests successfully. In addition, hydrogen air taxis are also planned, for example the Skai, developed by Alaka’i Technologies and BMW.
The new vehicles play an important plan in urban city planning. We have already reported about the plans of Paris to use air taxis at the Olympic games in 2024 and beyond that, set up an air transport network by 2030: (Link von der Homepage). These developments could establish a new way of mobility in Europe. Further the ambitions of autonomous flying require a secure European digital infrastructure.


Higher fines for over speeding in Austria

To reduce the comparatively high number of traffic fatalities, the Austrian Minister of transport Gewessler has presented the new catalogue of fines for over speeding. Not only higher fees be considered, also the withdrawal of the driver’s license or the car. The new regulations should apply from this summer.
For most offenses, there are only entry fines, the decision on the amount of the fines is made by the authorities on a case-by-case basis. Specifically, this means that the maximum fine will increase from 2.180€ to 5.000€. In addition, the observation period for repeated violations of the speed limits doubles to four years.
The new rules for the withdrawal of the driver’s license will also become stricter. So far, the authorization for drivers has been withdrawn if the speed was exceeded 40 km/h in town and 50 km/h out of town. The limit values are to be lowered by 10 km/h: 30 km/h in town and 40 km/h out of town. Furthermore, the duration of withdrawal will be doubled from two to four weeks.
In addition to fines, the penalty for participating in illegal street races is also to be increased.
The participating becomes a particularly dangerous crime. There is a risk of the driver’s license being withdrawn for at least six months and compulsory retraining and, in the event of repetition, a traffic psychological examination. There is also a threat of the car being confiscated. This is also possible in extreme cases when the driver was 80 km/h in town or 90 km/h out of town to fast.
The general speed limit in Austria for cars is 50km/h in town, 100 km/h out of town and 130 km/h on highways.


Increased additional fee in Hungary violates German ordre public

The decision from 4.2.2021 by the regional court in Munich (31 S 10 317/20) was rendered in a dispute over additional fees for unpaid road tolls. The Hungarian regulations provide, that users of the highways must buy a vignette. If they have not done it, they must pay a top-up fee which is five times higher than the basic price. When there is no payment within 60 days, an increased additional fee is owed. This one is again four times higher than the top-up fee. The appeal court only has to check the last fee for its legitimacy.
It was initially unproblematic that the defendant only rented the car and did not drive it itself. The court in Nürnberg-Fürth has already ruled at 30.7.2019, that owner liability does not violate the ordre public (16 S 9176/18). A violation of domestic basic principles fails because German civil law also includes owner liability.
In the second point, that the court had to determine was according to which regulation the applicable law is to be assessed. It firmly decided that contrary to the plaintiff’s opinion, there was no contractual relationship between claimant and the vehicle rental company. The driver did not act on behalf of the defendant and the fact that the rental car company has not done anything to prevent a further journey after the first payment requests have been received does not establish a contractual relationship. As a result, the Rom II regulation is applicable.
Within this the question arose whether there is a violation of Art. 26. This is the case with claims for damages if they go much further than necessary to adequately compensate the injured person or obviously serve purposes other than adequate compensation for the injured person. The German court arguments that there is a violation of Art. 26 Rom II regulation. By that the increased additional fee is four times higher than the top-up fee, which itself is just as five times higher than the basic charge, no connection to the actual damage can be identified. According to this line of reasoning, the additional fee is not enforceable at a German court.
The judgment is not yet final and can still be reviewed by the German high court.


Italy: no compensation for the passengers?

Bad news for those traveling on a car involved in a road accident in Italy without fault of its driver: in these cases, the passenger is not entitled to compensation for damage by the insurance of the vehicle on which he was located.

In the decided case, the injured person was on board a car that was hit by another vehicle, coming from the opposite direction, whose driver had made a risky overtaking, losing control of the vehicle. In the impact, this passenger had suffered personal injuries and had requested compensation from the insurance of the vehicle he was traveling on.

But the judge from Taranto declared that the request is inadmissible, referring to a sentence of the Cassation Court, according to which the compensation obligation is excluded for "fortuitous events" as the full liability of other car drivers.

Unfortunately, this restrictive literal reading of the law by Italian courts leads to an unreasonable disadvantage for passengers, especially for passengers injured in a foreign car, since they will not get direct compensation from their domestic insurer, when Italian law is applied.

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The EU driving licence and its validity

Since the foundation of the European Union (EU), the member states have been striving to achieve a convergence of their directives and laws. This also applies in the area of road traffic law. In the course of harmonisation the EU driving licence was created.
The legal basis is the third driving licence directive of the European Union. The directive intends to reduce the high number of different driving licence documents within the EU and helps the authorities to check the licence of foreign drivers without much effort.
In principal EU member states are obliged to recognise driving licences issued in other European countries. However, this principle does not apply to all EU licences. The authorities can also check retrospectively whether the licence is valid at all. It is e.g. invalid if the holder of the licence had not registered his main residence in the relevant country at the time of acquisition.
Furthermore the ECJ has declared a licence invalid if it was lawfully acquired in another EU country but was issued at a time when no driving licence should have been displayed domestically because of a final conviction. This was also recently the decision of the Administrative Court of Trier in Germany in a case in which a German citizen had his licence revoked for intentional drunk driving. Beyond that the Administrative authority declared not to issue a driving licence before the expiry of one year. Thereupon the plaintiff took his driving test in Luxembourg and started to drive on German roads again. The court ruled contrary to the view of the ECJ that the licence also does not become effective through the expiry of the suspension.
Despite harmonisation under EU law the validity of EU driving licences is limited by specific exceptions. Traffic offenders must take care not to drive during the ban period, otherwise they will be liable to prosecution.
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Foreign EU driving licence does not have to be recognised after mere renewal following domestic driving ban

The facts
A German citizen with normal residence in Spain and a Spanish driving licence was denied the right to drive a motor vehicle in Germany with this licence after driving under the influence of alcohol in Germany. The German authorities ordered a 14-month ban during which he was not allowed to apply for a new driving licence. During the ban period and also several times later, the Spanish authorities renewed the driving licence and issued him with new documents. Finally, the original plaintiff applied for recognition of the validity of his Spanish driving licence for the federal territory.
No acceptance of renewed driving licence
The German driving licence authority refused to recognise the renewed driving licence because the requirements provided for in German law for regaining the right to drive in Germany, namely the submission of a medical-psychological certificate after driving under the influence of alcohol, were not met. The plaintiff's action was unsuccessful in the first instance as well as in the appeal instance. The Federal Administrative Court then appealed to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling. With its question, it wanted to know whether the German authorities had to recognise the validity of the renewed driving licence in a case such as the present one.
Distinction between issuing and renewing a driving licence
The ECJ also ruled against the plaintiff and confirmed that the German driving licence authority does not have to recognise the validity of the renewed driving licence. This is because, in contrast to the issuing of a driving licence, the Member States are not obliged to check the driving ability in the case of the simple renewal of a driving licence. However, the holder of the driving licence must be able to prove - after the expiry of a possible ban period - that his ability to drive was the subject of an examination at the time of the renewal of that driving licence. This examination must correspond to the medical-psychological examination ordered by the German driving licence authority.
No endorsement of driving bans on foreign driving licences
Ultimately, the ECJ ruled that a Member State may not put an endorsement of a driving ban on a driving licence issued in another Member State, because endorsements on driving licences fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Member State in which the holder has his normal residence. However, he is free to contact the Member State of residence with a request to affix such an endorsement. In addition, the Member State of temporary residence may check whether the person concerned has been banned from driving on its territory, for example by electronic interrogation during a traffic check on its territory.
The verdicts:;
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European Court of Auditors reprimands disregard for passenger rights in the pandemic

The European Court of Auditors has made it clear that issuing coupons in the event of flight cancellations massively violates consumers' rights.
The facts
During the pandemic, around 7,000 flights were cancelled between March 2020 and March 2021. Millions of travellers were affected and according to the auditors unlawfully forced to accept vouchers instead of refunds for cancelled flights. Although the airline industry received billions in state aid between March 2020 and April this year.
Partial guilt of the federal government?
The German Air Transport Association defends its action by saying that it was an "absolutely special situation". Compared to the previous year, the number of passengers plummeted by 99 per cent and the number of flights by 88 per cent. The companies suffered correspondingly great hardship. The association has also partly blamed the federal government for the legal breaches. The latter had considered vouchers permissible instead of refunds due to the pandemic.
According to the Court, 15 EU states, including the Netherlands, France and Belgium, had even helped in the process by adopting EU-unlawful rules by exempting airlines and tour operators from the obligation to compensate passengers for cancelled flights. In some cases, these vouchers were not even protected against the insolvency of the companies.
Against this background, the EU Commission reprimanded the airlines and presented a list of demands: In it, the airlines are urged not to advertise refunds in the form of a voucher as the only choice and to avoid delays in repayment. In addition, new rules are being considered with a view to future crises.
The Court's rebuke is to be welcomed. In view of the state aid, the air industry was quite capable of refunding the money. The consideration of new consumer-friendly regulations will help to protect passengers' rights more extensively.
Report of the Court of Auditors:
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The Netherlands issues new catalogue of fines 2021

Motorists should drive adapted in the Netherlands. The reason for this is i.a. the new catalogue of fines 2021, which provides higher fines for traffic offenders.
The new catalogue confirms that the overall penalty rates in the Netherlands are significantly higher than in other European Member States. Thus, it specifies that for parking and stopping offences, a fine of 100 euros (previously 95) must be paid if the offence is punished by the police. For penalties imposed by the municipality a fine of 60 euros (previously 50) will be ordered. Red light violations will be reproved with 250 euro (before 240). The same applies to driving over solid lanes and phone calls at the wheel without a hands-free device.
Increases were also made for speeding offences. Traffic offenders will be fined upwards of 30 euros, if they exceed the speed limit of 5 km/h in towns, out of towns and on motorways. Transgressing the speed limit by more than 30 km/h they will even be reported to the police.
Moreover, the authorities will impose sanctions for late payment. If the fine is not paid despite being due, the amount will increase by half due to the first delay and by double due to the second one.
Even if the catalogue of fines has not changed seriously, the accruing amounts might deter road users from committing offences and encourage them to behave in accordance with the regulations. Citizens of other European Member States should be aware of the fact, that the penalty can also be enforced in their home state.
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