Rules and regulations

Speeding fines in Switzerland – what should I expect to pay?

NEWS
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Speeding is not just dangerous – it can be very expensive too. Source: iStock / zheltikov

The “Via Sicura” road safety programme launched by the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) in 2013 resulted in the tightening of traffic laws. The idea was to prevent serious road accidents by introducing measures such as stricter fines and penalties for speeding offenders. So far, the effect has been positive: there are fewer fatalities and severe injuries on Swiss roads. The list of fines imposed in Switzerland is updated periodically. Find out here what fines are currently payable.

Most motorists adhere to road traffic rules as a matter of course. Nevertheless, some significant violations of these rules still occur, particularly with regard to prescribed speed limits. One of the aims of the Federal Council's “Via Sicura” set of measures is to reduce speeding on Swiss roads. These measures are designed to deter the worst speeding offenders in particular and therefore lower the number of accidents.

According to accident data published by the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) (in German, French and Italian only), the number of road traffic fatalities dipped below the 200 mark last year for the first time since records began. The number of serious casualties on Swiss roads also fell. In 2019, 187 people were killed on the roads, compared to 233 the previous year. The reduction in the number of deaths applied chiefly to car and motorcycle accidents. Compared to the previous year, more e-bike riders were involved in serious accidents.

What is considered a serious speeding offence?

A serious speeding offence is deemed to have been committed when the speed limit is exceeded as outlined in table below. A serious speeding offender is someone who intentionally violates elementary traffic rules and thereby runs the risk of an accident involving serious injuries or fatalities, such as by dangerous overtaking or taking part in a non-approved motorcycle race. 

Zone Speed limit exceeded by
30 zone
Over 40 km/h
50 zone (built-up areas)
Over 50 km/h
80 zone (outside built-up areas)
Over 60 km/h
120 zone (motorways)
Over 80 km/h

The penalty for committing a serious speeding offence is the withdrawal of the offender's driving licence for at least two years. The licence is only returned when the offender passes a psychological assessment of fitness to drive. Motorists who repeat the offence will lose their licence permanently. What’s more, they could face a custodial sentence of between one and four years. In the case of gross violation of speeding limits, the car may be confiscated and even sold.

How much are the fines?

According to government recommendations, the fines for exceeding the speed limit and the margins of error that are deducted from speed measurements are as follows (fines and penalties may vary according to canton): 

Fines (in francs)

Excess speed Built-up areas Outside built-up areas Motorway
1-5 km/h
CHF 40 CHF 40 CHF 20
6-10 km/h
CHF 120
 CHF 100 CHF 60
11-15 km/h
 CHF 250  CHF 160  CHF 120
16-20 km/h
 C  CHF 240  CHF 180
21-25 km/h
 C  C  CHF 260
26-39 km/h
 C  C  C
40-79 km/h
 S S
 C
80+ km/h
 S S
 S

C = criminal charge, S = serious speeding offence

Margins of error

Measurement type Up to 100 km/h 101-150 km/h Over 151 km/h
Radar
5 km/h
6 km/h
7 km/h
Laser 3 km/h
4 km/h
5 km/h
Fixed radar on bends
10 km/h
14 km/h
-
Moving radar 7 km/h
8 km/h
9 km/h
Fixed traffic sensors 5 km/h
6 km/h
7 km/h
Section speed control 5 km/h
6 km/h
7 km/h

Harsh penalties particularly for young drivers

The Swiss Federal Road Traffic Act (SVG/LCR) includes more stringent penalties for young drivers than for experienced drivers.

For example, zero alcohol tolerance applies to young drivers whereas for experienced drivers the limit is 0.5 mg/ml. If a new driver is caught drinking and driving, the standard probationary period is extended by one year provided this is the first time the driving licence has been suspended. In the event of a second suspension, drivers lose their probationary driving licence. They must then wait one year before reapplying, and will be required to undergo a psychological assessment of fitness to drive.

All offences and possible penalties are regulated in the government's fixed penalties ordinance (page in German, French and Italian only).

A word of caution, though: it's easy to forget or overlook some of the penalties that apply on Swiss roads. These penalties can be particularly tough for young drivers. 

Other road fines

Offence Fine (in francs)
Failure to carry driving licence
CHF 20
Exceeding permitted parking time by up to 2 hours CHF 40
Using phone without hands-free set CHF 100
Failure to display parking disc
CHF 40
Stopping on a zebra crossing CHF 80
Failure to give way at a zebra crossing CHF 140
Running the engine to warm it up unnecessarily CHF 60

General legal information relating to road traffic

In Switzerland, a distinction is made between three types of offences:

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanours
  • Felonies

Infractions are punished by a fine, misdemeanours by a larger financial penalty or a custodial sentence of up to three years, while a felony in this area can lead to a maximum custodial sentence of more than three years.

If the violation of traffic rules is considered a misdemeanour or felony, two different procedures are initiated: criminal proceedings by the criminal justice authorities and administrative measures by the Road Traffic Office. These two procedures are completed simultaneously but independently of each other and are based on the same police report. Administrative measures include warnings, suspension of driving licence and driver re-education courses.

Summary

Adhering to road traffic laws is not just about protecting your own life and that of others – it can save you money too.