- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Czech Republic to Lower Driving Age and Introduce Stricter Penalties to Improve Road Safety
In a bid to enhance road safety and reduce the alarming number of road fatalities, the Czech Republic is set to implement significant changes to its driving regulations in 2024. Transport Minister Martin Kupka, from the ODS party, recently unveiled these sweeping reforms during a press conference, highlighting their potential to mitigate road accidents and fatalities. Currently experiencing 50 road deaths per million inhabitants annually, the Czech Republic aims to bring this number down to below 40 through these comprehensive measures.
One of the key changes is the reduction in the minimum age for commencing driving school courses, allowing aspiring drivers to begin at 15 years and six months of age. Once they reach the age of 17, they will be permitted to drive a car under the supervision of a mentor for a year. This move aligns the Czech Republic with countries like Germany and Slovakia, where this practice has proven effective in producing safer, more responsible young drivers.
The amendment also overhauls the penalty points system for driving offenses, introducing stricter categorization and increased fines. Driving under the influence of alcohol, previously penalized with seven points, will now result in six penalty points but with an elevated administrative fine of CZK 25,000, up from CZK 20,000. Refusing an alcohol test, driving without a license, or driving while banned will incur a hefty fine of up to CZK 75,000.
To discourage repeat offenses, accumulating 12 penalty points will still lead to the loss of a driver’s license, consistent with the existing law. On-the-spot fines will also see an increase in the maximum amount, ranging from 4,500 to 5,500 crowns.
Transport Minister Kupka cited the success of the points system in promoting adherence to road rules, both in the Czech Republic and abroad. The amendments aim to bring the Czech Republic closer to countries like Germany, where the annual road death rate is approximately 37 per million inhabitants.
In addition to these changes, the Ministry of Transport is launching a public education campaign to inform citizens about the upcoming amendments. Initiatives include organizing conferences for driving schools, leveraging social media for communications, and creating a dedicated website for young drivers.
Furthermore, the amended law introduces several preventive measures, including mandatory prevention courses for newly licensed drivers with less than two years of experience if they commit a serious offense within their initial two years of driving. Additionally, a new feature eliminates the requirement for drivers to carry their licenses and vehicle certificates starting next year, earlier than the previously planned cessation date of July 1, 2025.
These comprehensive reforms signify the Czech government’s commitment to enhancing road safety, nurturing responsible young drivers, and reducing road fatalities, ultimately making the nation’s roads safer for all.
Article by Prague Forum