As Index vijesti writes, new Croatian road rules are in force today following amendments to the Law on Amendments to the Law on Road Traffic Safety, which introduces significant innovations in the legal regulations in the field of road traffic safety across the country.
It regards some comprehensive changes to the umbrella legal regulation on driving in Croatia, for which detailed preliminary analyses were made in order to improve existing practices from every perspective necessary for greater safety and more practical driving conditions, and all related professions and institutions were consulted during the drafting process as were people and road users themselves, they stated from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP).
Below are some of the most important changes to the Croatian road rules
New categories of vehicles – Personal means of transport such as electric scooters, etc
For the first time ever, the participation of electric scooters, electric unicycles, segways and the like on the country’s road system has been fully and legally regulated. They have been classified into a special category of vehicles, for which a common name – a personal means of transport – was introduced.
A personal means of transport is a vehicle that isn’t classified in any vehicle category in accordance with special regulations. It doesn’t have a seat, and the working volume of its engine isn’t greater than 25 cm³, the continuous power of the electric motor isn’t stronger than 0.6 kW and when on a flat road, it doesn’t develop a speed greater than 25 km/h. This of course regards self-balancing vehicles, such as unicycle with motor or electric drives, scooters with motor or electric drives, etc.).
Due to this new definition of the aforementioned means of transport and the introduction of a new term for it, other provisions of the Act relating to their safe participation in traffic have also been adjusted. The new law prescribes the right and manner of using the surfaces on which they can travel and the conditions that must be met by these vehicles and their drivers when using the roads.
Additionally, drivers of these so-called ”personal vehicles”, as well as bike riders, in accordance with the new Law, may not drive their vehicle using headphones, as this would reduce their ability to react quickly and safely drive the vehicle with their full focus. In case of a violation of the prescribed obligation, a sanction is prescribed, i.e. a fine in the amount of 300 kuna.
The new Act additionally prescribes areas where the driver is obliged to adjust the speed of their vehicle. As such, there are so-called ”other surfaces” so that these new regulations, at least in that part, would also be applicable to new categories of vehicles, i.e. to vehicles which fall into the ”personal means of transport” category. In addition, the new Croatian road rules allow drivers (category B) to drive motorised tricycles in Croatia, but this is subject to certain conditions.
The temporary incapacity to drive and the obligation of a doctor
The amendment to Article 233 introduces an obligation for all doctors, i.e. the doctor who examined or treated the driver or the patient’s chosen doctor (GP) to warn the driver of their temporary incapacity, which cannot be longer than six months. Doctors are obliged to record the given warning in the patient’s medical documentation.
After the expiration of the period of the driver’s temporary incapacity, the driver will not be referred for another medical examination, and misdemeanor sanctions are prescribed for doctors who fail to notify the driver of their temporary incapacity to drive and who fail to properly record this information in the patient’s medical documentation.
Sanctions are also in force for drivers who drive a vehicle on the road when they have been issued a doctor’s warning about a temporary health condition which stops them from doing so.
However, it’s important point out that the provisions on the temporary incapacity of the driver to drive a vehicle will come into force on the day of the adoption of amendments to the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health.
A deadline has been set for the Health Minister (Vili Beros), with the prior consent of the Interior Minister (Davor Bozinovic) to harmonise the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers (“Official Gazette/Narodne Novine”, no. 137/15, 132/17 and 10/20) with the provisions of this Act within 12 months from the date of entry into force of this Act.
In relation to safety and health factors, the new Croatian road rules prescribe a sanction of 300 kuna for a driver choosing to drive a vehicle without a first aid kit in it when using the road, in accordance with the rulebook (pravilnik) prescribing the technical conditions of vehicles participating in road traffic.
A corridor for the passage of emergency vehicles
Crisis situations over the last two years have shown insufficient prominence and knowledge of the necessary reactions of road users in order to allow emergency vehicles and personnel uninhibited, urgent access to incident locations as easily and quickly as possible.
Therefore, these new Croatian road rules clearly define the need for a corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles on roads with more than two traffic lanes in the event of an incident situation. This will be done in order for drivers to acquire the understanding of the need for the move, and to alter driving culture itself in the sense of there needing to be a uniform way of ensuring a safe corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles. The corridor defined by the Law is uniform with other member states of the European Union.
An introduction of new terms and higher fines for speeding
New terms as part of new Croatian road rules have also been defined, such as “traffic zone in a protected cultural-historical entity”, ”contact zone”, “assistive pedestrian means”, “rider” and “automated vehicle”.
For the first time, the participation of ”riders” in road traffic has been regulated, and a new term has been introduced that describes a fully automated vehicle, i.e. a vehicle that can move along the road without the presence of a driver (a fully automated vehicle without a steering wheel).
In this regard, a sanction has also been prescribed for drivers who use vehicles with built-in driver assistance systems (partially automated vehicles) in such a way that the vehicle steers independently, and at the same time, i.e. while driving, the drivers don’t even sit in the driver’s seat, which means that they aren’t in the proper ”form” to react quickly in unexpected situations or unforeseen circumstances.
In addition, these new Croatian road laws regulate the ban on parking vehicles in places intended only for the charging of electric vehicles and enable the sanctioning of negligent drivers, as well as the relocation of vehicles that don’t use charging services and are parked in places intended only for charging electric vehicles.
In accordance with the examples from practice, the obligation to submit credible data about the person who was driving the vehicle at the requested time has also been changed or expanded.
Namely, according to the new Croatian road rules, the user of a vehicle is required to provide reliable information about the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offense at the request of a police officer or an official from a local self-government unit. Since the current amount of the fine seems to have failed to deter drivers from committing violations, the new Croatian road rules have seen an increase in the amount of the fine issued for speed violations (which is most often imposed in the event of a traffic accident) from 500 kuna to 1,000 kuna.
Other important changes
The latest amendments to the Law also clarify the provisions of the article of the Act that refer to the responsibilities of a person who has access to dual controls of a vehicle during a driving test. In addition, license plates with red and green numbers and letters have been abolished.
It has been made much easier for both legal or natural persons to carry out the work they are engaged in (the production, upgrading, servicing, transport or retail sale of vehicles), i.e. the use of portable/removable license plates is now permitted for the purposes of transporting vehicles to their place of technical inspection and vehicle registration, for which until now, the use of test license plates was prescribed.
Persons who have completed at least an undergraduate university study or an undergraduate professional study, lasting three years in the traffic department (urban), are now allowed to perform the work of vehicle technical inspection supervisor and the work of vehicle testing and documentation processing, considering the compatibility of the education programme for the mentioned professions.
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