Every new year brings new traffic rules. Read on to find out exactly what's changing and what you'll need to do in 2024.
From January 1, 2024
Tax on electric cars
The Federal Council decided last November that it would begin charging import duty on electric cars, which were previously exempt for climate policy reasons, with effect from January 1, 2024. Importers are likely to increase their prices to cover this additional tax, which amounts to 4% of the purchase price, so you can expect to pay more if you're planning to buy a new electric car in 2024.
New efficiency categories for passenger cars
The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) is updating its energy efficiency categories for passenger cars, which range from A to G. This could lead to some models being assigned to a different category from January 2024, which will affect how they are taxed in cantons such as Bern, Fribourg, Glarus, Obwalden, St. Gallen, and Thurgau. This applies to all passenger cars, not just new ones.
Simplified enforcement of German fines
A new police agreement makes it easier to enforce traffic fines between Germany and Switzerland. Effective immediately, Swiss authorities can collect fines imposed in Germany. This cross-border agreement allows the relevant German authorities to submit requests for fines to be enforced in Switzerland. The same applies to German drivers who have been given traffic fines in Switzerland.
From March 1, 2024
Changes to driving aptitude test and no more duplicated eye tests
From March 1, 2024, anyone applying for a learner's permit or driver's license for the first time will not have to undergo a medical examination to verify that they are fit to drive until they turn 75 (previously 65). This change is aligned with the rule for existing license holders, for whom testing already starts at 75. Also from this date, license holders who are merely applying for a license in a different category will no longer have to take another eye test.
Suspension of drivers' licenses
An important change to the rules on suspending drivers' licenses comes into force in March. Anyone who has had a learner's permit or driver's license suspended will no longer be able to get a license in a different category for the duration of the suspension if that category of license would normally have had to be suspended as well.
Longer driving tests
Driving tests for category A (motorcycle) and B (passenger car) licenses will have to include at least 45 minutes of riding or driving on public roads. For category A in particular, this will increase the total test duration from 30 minutes to 60. The aim of this change is to improve the quality and safety of the practical test and better prepare riders and drivers for the road.
From April 1, 2024
Speedometer required on e-bikes up to 45 km/h
With a view to improving road safety, e-bike riders have been required to keep their lights on during the day since April 1, 2022. From April 1, 2024, pedal-assist e-bikes capable of up to 45 km/h will additionally have to be fitted with a speedometer to ensure compliance with speed limits, especially in zones where the limit is 20 or 30 km/h. Existing e-bikes must have a speedometer fitted by April 1, 2027. Failure to fit one could be punished with a CHF 20 fine.
Mandatory systems for new cars
Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, all new passenger cars must comply with EU safety regulations from April 1, 2024. These include being equipped with mandatory assistance systems such as intelligent speed assistance, driver drowsiness and attention warning, an emergency lane-keeping system, an emergency stop signal, reversing detection, and an event data recorder or "black box." The latter records information including speed, accelerator pedal position, antilock brake and electronic stability program activity, and steering angle. When an accident occurs, data are stored for five seconds before and 300 milliseconds after the event in order to make it easier to reconstruct what happened. All of these measures are intended to make the roads safer and permit more precise analysis of accidents.
From November 1, 2024
Driver's license in card form only
Anyone who still has an old blue paper driver's license will need to replace it before November 1 with a new one in the credit card format that has been in use since 2003. From that date, only having a paper license will qualify as driving without a valid license and may be punished with a CHF 20 fine. Make sure that you replace your old license in good time to avoid a penalty.