An amendment to the Road Traffic Act has caused a stir and made drivers of classic cars fear for their exemption rights. In future, classic cars will still be allowed to drive on German roads without a green environmental sticker.
A ban on classic cars? This is what classic car owners and enthusiasts had feared after an amendment to the Road Traffic Act was passed by the Bundestag and the Bundestag Council. The law talks about legal regulations to avert danger and protection against exhaust fumes and noise. Fans of classic cars had therefore feared driving bans for the old models. Currently, classic cars that are officially recognisable as such by the letter "H" at the end of the registration plate are exempt from the sticker requirement. They are allowed to drive in the German environmental zones without restriction.
In order to ward off a possible driving ban after the change in the law, sentiment was raised online against the law and a petition was started that quickly collected more than 50,000 signatures. No wonder, after all, there are currently even more classic cars than Teslas on German roads and the number is growing.
But Carsten Müller, CDU member of parliament and chairman of the parliamentary group Automobiles Kulturgut im Deutschen Bundestag (PAK), appeases: "Driving bans for historic vehicles are not imminent. Technical cultural assets on two, three, four or even more wheels will continue to be experienced on our roads." According to Müller, nothing of substance was actually changed in the amendment of the law. The new version is merely better sorted and more simply worded, as well as summarised in some places. Previously, the law had been too confusing, as more and more amendments and additions had been added over the past years. This could possibly have led to an unlawful interpretation.
So while most internal combustion vehicles with diesel and also petrol engines are to disappear further and further from our roads in the next few years, classic cars will still be allowed to drive on German roads. Many of them drive without filter systems and therefore contribute heavily to air pollution. Some restrictions, such as temporary driving bans or a ban in certain particularly polluted areas, would therefore perhaps indeed make sense.
The cultural asset of the car thus seems to take precedence over the health and well-being of citizens in Germany in the near future. Thus, the remaining car owners will have to bear the burden of the bans alone and struggle with environmental zones and diesel driving bans.