2024 driving rule changes in Switzerland: What motorists need to know

2024 driving rule changes in Switzerland: What motorists need to know

Switzerland is due to implement new rules and regulations on drivers and cyclists across 2024. From changes to driving licences to scrapping some medical exams, here’s what motorists need to know about the reforms:

2024 brings several traffic rule changes to Switzerland

In a statement, the Federal Roads Office (Astra) confirmed that various new road traffic rules will come into effect across 2024. This began on January 1, when the government placed a new charge on importing vehicles to Switzerland that do not meet CO2 emissions targets. Cars and vans found to exceed the maximum CO2 limit are required to a penalty when the vehicle is first registered.

Now, several new reforms to Swiss driving rules will be introduced. Most of these will impact those learning to drive and elderly motorists. Here’s what you need to know:

Eye tests to be scrapped when applying for new driving licences

From March 1, the process of applying for new categories of driving licences will be streamlined and simplified. Anyone who wants to apply for a new ID in a different category of vehicle will no longer have to take an additional eye test during the application. 

Instead, an eye test will only be conducted during a driving medical examination, if such an exam is required - if the person is 75 years old or older, is applying for a licence to operate a "professional" or heavy vehicle as part of a job, or if there are doubts regarding the applicant's medical capability to drive.

Higher age for mandatory medical examinations

In addition, the minimum age limit for requiring a medical examination when applying for a licence will be raised from 65 to 75 years old. Under the new rules, anyone 75 years old or older who is applying for a learner’s licence or driving licence for the first time must undergo a medical examination. Medical checkups will then be required every two years, in line with all other motorists over 75 years old.

In the final change for March, the minimum duration of Swiss driving tests will be increased. From now on, tests for category A and B licences (cars and most motorbikes) will have to involve at least 45 minutes of driving on the open road.

New road safety regulations to be enforced in Switzerland from April

From April 1, 2024, several new safety regulations will be imposed in Switzerland. First, any new vehicles sold in Switzerland must be equipped with an accident data recorder and driver assistance systems. 

These systems are used, among other things, “to warn of fatigue or distraction, for automatic emergency braking in the event of danger or to provide support when reversing and turning,” Astra wrote. The new rules bring Switzerland into line with EU regulations.

Second, all new e-bikes with pedal assistance up to 45 kilometres per hour must be equipped with a speedometer. Astra explained that the rules should make it easier for e-cyclists to adhere to 20 and 30 km / h speed limits. Those who already own e-bikes have until April 1, 2027, to install a speedometer. Those who ride without the device from April 2027 risk a 20 franc fine from the police.

Switzerland says goodbye to blue paper driving licences

Finally, while it won’t happen until the autumn, Switzerland is set to bid a fond farewell to blue paper driving licences. The paper passes have been gradually phased out over the years, but October 31, 2024 represents the last day that they will be considered legal and valid.

Anyone who still has a blue paper licence must exchange it for a regular plastic ID card by the deadline. This can be done at any Road Traffic Office, either in person or by post. To exchange the licence you must fill out and provide an exchange / issuance of driving licence form, a coloured or black and white passport photo and the original blue paper licence.

Once the process is complete, the new ID should arrive within 10 to 14 working days. If you are caught still using a blue paper licence after November 1, you will face a fine.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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