BERLIN (Nov. 29, 2010)—Germany's Parliament has adopted an amendment to the German Road Traffic Regulations that requires cars and vans be fitted with winter tires under specified circumstances such as “ice, packed snow, slush, black ice or frost.”
Previously the law required only that vehicles were fitted with tires suitable for the conditions, which was sufficiently vague to be almost meaningless.
There is no mandatory period across the country as weather conditions vary widely in different regions. Also, a parked vehicle is not subject to the new ruling.
Trucks need winter tires on the drive axle, though other axles may carry regular tires. Agricultural and forestry vehicles are exempt.
The penalties for breaking the law are doubled to about $50 from about $25.
A DEKRA insurance survey showed 93 percent of 1,700 motorists who were asked were in favor of the new rule.
Even though more than 80 percent of car owners in Germany already regularly change the tires on their vehicles as the cold weather approaches, an additional surge in demand can be expected in the coming weeks. The new regulation is expected to come into force before Christmas.