Contributions and Interviews
Amendment to the Road Traffic Rules Act brings several novelties for road users
28. 07. 2021
On 16. 7. 2021, the National Assembly adopted the amendment to the Road Traffic Rules Act (Slovenian: ZPrCP-F), which aims to reduce the number of road traffic accidents. Eagerly awaited amendment to the act brings quite a few significant novelties and changes that every road user must be aware of. This amendment shall come into force 11. 8. 2021.
The first of the significant novelties is setting conditions for the participation of light motor vehicles in road traffic. Light motor vehicles are wheelchairs, motor-powered scooters with a maximum design speed not exceeding 25 km/h and are not wider than 80 cm, electric–powered skateboards, power-driven Segways, etc. Drivers of such vehicles must drive on a bicycle lane, bicycle path, or bicycle route. Only in the absence of such surfaces or if they are not transportable, they may drive along the right edge of the carriageway in the built-up areas where the maximum permitted speed is limited to 50 km/h. Wheelchairs are, however, excluded from the discussed constraints. The legislature also prescribes the mandatory use of a motorcycle helmet for drivers of light motor vehicles up to the age of 18 and sets out an adequate lateral distance when overtaking cyclists and drivers of light motor vehicles, which must be at least 1,5 m.
Following the example of some foreign countries, the amendment also legitimizes the turning right at the red light. According to the new amendment, it is allowed to turn right at clear intersections at a red light, but only if the road on the right-hand side is free and when a traffic sign for driving at a red light is placed next to a traffic light pole.
The use of mobile telephones while driving is becoming more and more frequent not only in Slovenia but in the rest of the world as well. According to some worrying trends in this field, the new amendment prescribes higher fines for drivers who use a mobile phone while driving. Such drivers will not only be fined but will also receive three additional penalty points.
The new amendment also prescribes higher fines for drivers, that don’t comply with the special light and audio signals of vehicles with priority, escort vehicles, and vehicles under escort, as well as for drivers joining a priority vehicle, escort vehicle, or vehicle under escort or overtaking them. Higher fines are also prescribed for drivers, who stop or park their vehicle at a marked parking space for disabled persons. The power of municipal traffic wardens and toll supervisors is also being extended. From now on, they will exercise control over the area of joint traffic, control of the approaching to the crossroads and positioning before the crossroads, as well as controlling the conditions for the participation of light motor vehicles in traffic. Municipal traffic wardens and toll supervisors will be also entitled to exercise surveillance over the usage of winter equipment for vehicles.
Testing of automated vehicles is also being re-arranged. Automated vehicles are motor vehicles with built-in systems, that can independently manoeuvre the vehicle in traffic without any interference from the driver. Such vehicles are increasingly entering the sphere of reality as we speak. However, the testing of automated vehicles areas will be suitably marked. Adequate designation of automated vehicles during their testing period with a prescribed “CAV” plate will also be mandatory so that other traffic participants will be able to recognize and identify them.
The new amendment prohibits beginners to drive automated vehicles. They can only be driven by those, who are either qualified for testing such vehicles or familiar with systems for automatized driving. Drivers of automated vehicles must be ready to intervene while participating in traffic at all times. The new regulation also postulates that a driver of such a vehicle will be monitored at all times, to guarantee an effective investigation in the case of an accident.
One of the paramount novelties also concerns the youngest participants in traffic. Each child, that is more than 140 cm tall and weighs more than 36 kg, will be, from now on, able to seat in each of the passenger’s seats, including the one next to the driver’s, provided that he is tightened with the seat belt.
However, despite numerous novelties and higher fines for some offences, the drivers can look forward to lower fines for not complying with speed regulations in traffic calming zones, in pedestrian zones, in a common traffic sphere, in built-up areas, or when they exceed speed limitations on a highways and motorways.
It is also gratifying news that driving with a driving licence, the validity of which has only expired, is no longer considered a serious offence, nor is it a reason to seize a motor vehicle.