Special rights (road traffic regulations)

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As special rights in is Germany exemption from the provisions of the Road Traffic Act referred (Highway Code). This right is tied to certain requirements and is regulated in Section 35 of the StVO.

In practice, for example:

They may be exercised "only with due consideration of public safety and order " (§ 35 StVO), so as a rule there must at least be no damage. The legal opinion on this is inconsistent and difficult to understand. However, the vehicle driver must always weigh up the traffic situation and the order against each other and maintain proportionality . For example, it may be possible to drive a construction vehicle in a lane against the direction of travel on a clear route in city traffic when working, but safety on the motorway would be so jeopardized that this procedure would no longer be compatible with the duty of care. The general administrative regulation for road traffic regulations gives examples of reasons for when special rights must be waived as a rule, the encounter with a vehicle with right of way and the instruction of a police officer to stop.

However, special rights do not mean that other road users have to clear the way. This obligation only arises if the right of way according to § 38 StVO is exercised by flashing blue light and emergency horn .

Special rights for those entitled due to sovereign tasks ( Section 35 Paragraph 1, 1a StVO) as well as for troops of the North Atlantic Pact are not vehicle-specific, but personal: They may also use special rights in other vehicles, especially private vehicles, or as pedestrians. This does not apply to the rescue service, to measuring vehicles and to road construction and cleaning vehicles, where the special rights are vehicle-specific.

The decision as to whether and to what extent special rights are used rests solely with the vehicle driver or the driver. Although the control center often gives an assessment of the urgency of an operation, this is not an order of the traffic law nature (however, the control center instruction can represent obligations under service law).


Special rights to fulfill sovereign tasks

The following organizations are exempt from the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulations if this is necessary to fulfill their sovereign tasks :

This also applies to foreign officials who are entitled to pursue or observe in Germany on the basis of international agreements .

Ambulance vehicles

Drivers of the rescue service are allowed to disregard the rules of the Road Traffic Regulations if the greatest urgency is required to save human lives or prevent serious damage to health. The use of the special right is therefore vehicle-specific.

Special rights for other reasons

Information sign in a
Deutsche Telekom vehicle
  • The troops of the non-German states party to the North Atlantic Pact are exempted from the provisions of the Road Traffic Act in the event of urgent military requirements, but only from the provisions of Section 29 StVO if special regulations or agreements exist for these troops ( Section 35 (5) StVO).
  • Measurement vehicles of the Federal Network Agency (formerly the regulatory authority for telecommunications and post, Section 66 of the Telecommunications Act ) are allowed to drive and stop on all roads and parts of the road at all times, insofar as their official use requires this ( Section 35 (7) StVO).
  • Vehicles that are used for the construction, maintenance or cleaning of streets and systems in the street space or for garbage collection and are marked by white-red-white warning devices are allowed to drive and stop on all streets and parts of the street and on every side of the street in every direction at all times as far as their use requires it. The same also applies to vehicles for cleaning the sidewalks, whose permissible total weight either does not exceed 2.8 t or does not exceed 3.5 t and whose internal tire pressure does not exceed 3 bar. It must be ensured that the sidewalks and the supply lines below cannot be damaged. ( Section 35 (6) StVO).

Not authorized

It is often assumed that every vehicle that is equipped with flashing lights and an emergency horn can also claim special rights. This can, however, be integrated into the rescue service according to Section 35 (5a) StVO, or the emergency manager of the railway or grounding vehicles as well as traffic monitoring vehicles and the like. However, a distinction must be made here between the permission to install a special signaling system ( StVZO ) and its use - with the legal consequence that others must create a clear path ( right of way , cf. § 38 Para. 1 StVO) - and the possibility according to § 35 Para 1 StVO to deviate from the provisions of the StVO. Those not named in § 35 Paragraph 1, 1a, 5, 5a StVO may not deviate from the provisions of the StVO. In practice this would mean: If the requirements of Section 38 (1) StVO are met, the blue light and horn may be switched on, with the result that other road users have to clear the way. The rules of the StVO (speed, red light, driving directions, parking restrictions, etc.) must not be deviated from. In individual cases, deviating from Section 16 of the OWiG may be justified. The Federal Court of Justice ruled in 1974 that vehicles that claim rights of way (e.g. interference suppression vehicles from energy supply companies) may use the railroad created for them even if they have to wait (e.g. at a traffic light). The drivers must then exercise the care that is also necessary with special rights. The guiding principle from this judgment of the Federal Court of Justice: The vehicles with priority according to § 38 StVO (in this case ambulances) are allowed to use the free lane given to them by other road users at intersections if they have switched on their flashing lights and emergency horn. This also applies if they would have to wait or if the right of way is regulated by traffic lights.

Likewise, the judgments OLG Karlsruhe of December 17, 1976, VersR 1977, 1013; OLG Oldenburg of October 22, 1975, VersR 1977, 1162 also with red traffic light after careful verification; KG (12 U 3774/85) VersR 1987, 8222 VerkMitt 1986, 61 pointed out.

Limits of special rights

Section 35 (8) of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), which only allows the application of special rights with due consideration of public safety and order, can be seen as a general clause of the border . The special rights are limited overall by driving physics (and the resulting jurisprudence). Furthermore, the special rights that only exempt from the rules of the StVO are also limited by other regulations (e.g. StVG , StVZO and StGB ). Unrestricted driving is not possible in this way. As a matter of principle, it is recommended by qualified personnel to limit excess speed to 20%.

Associations and excessive road use §§ 27, 29 StVO

Association trips with less than 30 vehicles of the organizations from § 35 StVO are regularly exempt from registering an association via the special rights if the requirements of § 35 paragraph 1 StVO are met, i.e. H. sovereign action would be complained without the association trip. The background to this regulation is that a registration could not regularly be approved in a timely manner by internal administrative action. The driving of more than 30 vehicles as an association as well as excessive use of the road ( § 29 StVO) still requires permission ( § 27 StVO) and is not subject to the special rights from § 35 I StVO. These restrictions do not apply in the event of accidents , catastrophes and disruptions to public security or order, or in the cases of Art. 91 and Art. 87a Para. 4 of the Basic Law (defense against a threat to the existence or the free democratic basic order of the federal government or a state) and in the case of defense and tension .

Blue flashing light and horn

A special identification of the vehicle is not required for the use of special rights. In the administrative regulation for § 35 StVO, however, it is stipulated that "on journeys where not all regulations can be complied with, [...] if possible and permissible, the use of special rights should be indicated by a blue flashing light together with the emergency horn ". Notification is not possible, for example, in the case of vehicles that are not equipped with a special signal system, such as private vehicles belonging to fire brigade members, not permitted if the requirements of Section 35 StVO are met, but not those of Section 38 (1) StVO.

If available, the non-observance of traffic rules is to be indicated by flashing blue lights and horns in order to warn other road users of the unexpectedly fast, contrary to the direction of travel or otherwise unusually driving emergency vehicle. Without a special signal system, special rights (in particular driving too fast or deviating from normal driving maneuvers) should only be exercised in a particularly restrictive manner due to the possible danger to other road users.


  • Andreas Wasielewski: Special rights in action . 2nd Edition. Lehmanns Media, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86541-074-X .
  • Roman Dickmann: Special rights with a private car? - Problems of § 35 StVO for members of volunteer fire brigades . In: New Journal for Traffic Law (NZV) . 2003, p. 220 ff .
  • Pießkalla: On the negligence criminal liability according to §§ 223, 229, 222 and § 315c StGB in the case of accidents in the context of emergency trips . In: New Journal for Traffic Law (NZV) . 2007, p. 438 ff .
  • Ulrich Cimolino, Roman Dickmann: The special rights and rights of way of emergency medical vehicles in road traffic . In: New Journal for Traffic Law (NZV) . 2008, p. 118 ff .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BGHZ 63, 327
  2. OLG Oldenburg VersR 1977, 1162 (with red light after careful verification)
  3. General Administrative Regulations for Road Traffic Regulations (VwV-StVO) , Administrative Regulations-im-internet.de , accessed on October 28, 2012