For professional drivers, it is sometimes annoying and obstructive that there is a ban on driving trucks. However, all other road users welcome this measure, as it makes traffic on already full motorways less slow. We will provide you with a detailed overview of the various driving bans.
Who do the driving bans affect in Germany?
If your truck weighs more than 7.5 tons or you pull a trailer with it, you have no business on the roads during the truck ban. This also applies to empty runs! However, there are exceptions, especially for fresh food. You may also drive during the driving ban periods if you are transporting
- live fish, fresh fish or fresh fish products,
- fresh meat products or fresh meat,
- fresh milk products or fresh milk,
- perishable vegetables or fruit,
- certain animal by-products, or
- live bees
Empty runs, which you have to make to transport these products, are also exempted from the driving ban. The same applies in the event of accidents or emergencies for breakdown service vehicles, towing and recovery vehicles.
This is the public holiday and Sunday driving ban for trucks
In principle, the truck driving ban applies every Sunday. You are not allowed to move your vehicle from midnight to 10:00 p.m. There is also the ban on driving on public holidays. These include
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Labour Day (1 May)
- Ascension Day
- German Unification Day (3 October)
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day
In addition there are Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day, but only in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland. Corpus Christi is also a holiday in Hesse. On Reformation Day (31 October) you are not allowed to drive your truck on the roads of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia. From 2018 to 2020, a special permit for transport to and from Berlin will also apply on this day.
During the main holiday period, the truck driving ban applies at the weekend
When the cars are moving in huge queues to go on holiday or bring the holidaymakers back again, the ban on trucks is extended to Saturday. Between 1 July and 31 August, you are not allowed to travel on selected motorways and federal roads between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Here you will find a good overview provided by the Federal Ministry of Transport plus digital structure of the routes.
You can apply for an exemption in urgent cases
If your employer believes they have an urgent reason, they can apply to the relevant road traffic authority for an exemption. However, these are issued in only a few cases. Simple economic advantages over the competition, for example, are not a sufficient reason.
Summary: On some days, the roads remain mostly truck-free
Even if the break doesn’t fit you well into the plan, it is in your own interest to comply with the truck driving ban. Otherwise, if you are caught, you will be fined 120 euros. If the idea of driving during the driving ban originates from your employer, i.e. if they have ordered it or knowingly permitted it, they will even be asked to pay 570 euros. So it is better to plan the trips from the outset around the days with the driving ban and dedicate this time to the much needed rest for the driver.
And if you get bored during your break, here you will find the best tips on how to make your rest periods more interesting!