Swiss court eases punishments for drivers who undertake

Swiss court eases punishments for drivers who undertake

A new supreme court ruling has relaxed the penalties issued by police for undertaking on motorways and other roads. Instead of automatically revoking their licence, drivers in Switzerland caught overtaking in the right-hand lane will now only receive a fine in most cases.

Overtaking on the right considered a serious offence

Up until now, officially speaking, anyone who is caught undertaking - overtaking on the right-hand lane of a motorway or multi-lane road - is supposed to have their driving licence revoked for at least three months. According to 20 minuten, the manoeuvre is considered to be a “serious traffic violation” by both the government and the emergency services, as it can lead to road traffic accidents.

However, this policy is set to change after a recent Federal Supreme Court ruling. In the case, a man was convicted for undertaking on a motorway in October 2020. He was banned from driving for one year by the local road traffic office because of the violation, and the fact he has had his licence revoked in the past.

Undertaking to now be dealt with by fines in Switzerland

After a number of appeals, the case found itself in front of the Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne. Now, the court has ruled that withdrawing his licence was not justified.

In the ruling, they made the point that the road where the incident occurred was dry, visibility was good and there wasn’t much traffic. In addition, there was no evidence to suggest that the driver being overtaken had to dodge, brake or perform any evasive manoeuvres because of the offending driver’s actions.

Therefore, the court said that a fine of 250 francs was sufficient punishment for the man’s actions, and his licence should be returned. According to 20 minuten, the decision now sets an official precedent that “safe” undertaking should not be punished by revoking people’s licences, and should instead be handled with a fine in future.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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