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Traffic law: Owner liability: lever contract

Traffic law: owner liability
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E inen The first attempt had already been made in mid-2008: The EU Commission presented a draft directive to 'facilitate the cross-border prosecution of traffic offenses'. A further adjustment screw should be tightened in order to be able to achieve the self-declared goal of halving the number of road deaths in Europe by the end of the decade.

Owner and vehicle data should be exchanged across Europe

According to the Brussels people, speed offenses, drink driving, waiving seat belts and red light violations are of the opinion Bureaucrats the basic evil on the roads in Europe and poison for road safety. The magic formula, on the other hand, in the draft of the EU Commission read as follows: For the offenses in question, an EU-wide information network should enable the member states to exchange owner and vehicle data. Once the owner has been identified, the automatic tracking system starts up. An EU-standard form in the respective national language, the so-called delict notification, is then sent to the home address of the alleged traffic offender. He should also pay the fine ( Pay the funniest excuses for hooligans ). If the owner denies having driven the vehicle himself at the time in question, he should have to inform the authorities about the identity of the actual driver ( EU-Knöllchen: From October will be collected ).

Punishment without guilt - that does not exist in the German constitutional state

In Germany all alarm bells rang, because this introduction of owner liability through the back door would have been absurd according to the principles of the constitution. 'A criminal or even criminal-like punishment of an offense, which includes traffic offenses, is unlawful through no fault of the perpetrator,' says Michael Brenner, who teaches German and European constitutional and administrative law at the University of Jena. Punishment without guilt - there is no such thing in the German constitutional state. And this also applies to alleged traffic offenders.

Especially the French neighbors find it difficult to understand the position of the Germans. France already had owner liability more than ten years agointroduced. Not without birth pangs, because at that time a complaint from Parliament was followed by a review by the French Constitutional Council. However, the latter was of the opinion that in unclear cases the personal fault of the holder was to sabotage the establishment of the truth with his refusal to establish the truth.

So the French wanted to use the favor of their council presidency in the second half of 2008 and put pressure on them per owner liability in Europe. Nevertheless, there was no vote in favor of it in the Council of Ministers, because in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as in Germany, the principle of driver responsibility applies. The owner liability opponents had also leaked an opinion from the legal service of the EU Council. The Commission was not at all responsible in this area, it said. Rather, this is a case for the judicial cooperation agreed under the EU Treaty. And the member states were responsible for this before December 1, 2009, but now this is Community law.

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal basis has changed

Because with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal basis has changed - the powers of the Commission and Parliament have increased. Qualified majorities are sufficient where unanimity in the Council of Ministers was required in the past. Is German resistance to owner liability in Europe now pointless? And if not, how can it be prevented? The experts at this year's Traffic Court Day will also be discussing these questions. The EU Commission has not adopted this plan for a long time, that much is clear. 'You have to be prepared for surprises,' says Michael Brenner. It is quite possible that the Commission will use the new Road Safety Action Plan announced for 2010 as a vehicle. However, the Jena professor is not worried: 'If the owner's liability is part of an EU regulation or directive, that would be incompatible with the German constitution,' he says.

With its ruling on the Lisbon The contract was given the green light for the further progress of European integration at the end of June, but reservations and conditions were formulated. Whenever EU resolutions affect the identity of national sovereignty or create new EU competences, the German representative may not agree and the Bundestag must first decide whether they comply with the constitution. The Federal Constitutional Court also reserves the right to review all decisions from Brussels for compliance with the core values ​​of the Basic Law. 'The constitutional judges have set a high hurdle for owner liability in Germany that can hardly be overcome,' said Brenner. Hopefully it will not be sacrificed on the European altar.


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