Because only a few people comply with the night driving ban for heavy goods vehicles in the Little German Corner between Tyrol and Salzburg, police checks along the B21 should now deter – as was the case in Bad Reichenhall at the end of November. For the first time, the Austrian authorities also checked the border crossings at the same time. It was only the fourth police check on Bavarian territory this year, because it is time-consuming. Around 14 people from three different police stations and an employee from the district office are needed to check the many trucks early in the morning.
Popular night route for heavy trucks
So far, the police officers have found black sheep at every check. She should experience this again during the most recent inspection. Because the direct route to and from Austria through the Berchtesgadener Land, past the municipalities of Schneizereuth, Bad Reichenhall and Piding am Walserberg, is often used by truck drivers at night to save time. Much to the chagrin of the Upper Bavarian residents, who demand closer controls.
Night trips only with special permission
Truck drivers are only allowed to drive through the Kleine Deutsche Eck between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in exceptional cases. For example, truck drivers who have to transport goods between Salzburg and Pinzgau can receive an exemption. An exception is possible from other Austrian federal parts to Salzburg, for example for perishable goods. In addition, logistics companies can apply for exemptions from the night driving ban in so-called hardship cases. The exemption permits are valid for one year and cost 250 euros each.
More recommendation than prohibition
But most of the people who die do not adhere to the rules. This was shown by the balance sheet in Bad Reichenhall after just under an hour of control. Of the 24 trucks stopped, only three had a special permit. The results of the previous controls were also similar. It is proof that the truck night driving ban has been rather than recommended so far, despite its roughly 30-year history.
Reasons for violations: Time pressure and block handling in Tyrol
Truck drivers without a special permit have to pay a fine of 130 euros. This also sparked discussions during the most recent inspection. Because the deadline pressure and block handling in Tyrol, as described by truck drivers stopped, urge them to drive through the Kleine Deutsche Eck at night as well. Many people are less annoyed about paying the fine than having to wait in the parking lot for the journey to continue and thereby lose valuable time.
“We just want to be able to sleep peacefully”
But residents have been suffering from the noise for years. In the meantime, three citizens’ groups have joined forces along the route, have organized road blockades and made their voices heard in local politics. “We just want the truck driving ban to be complied with, and we just want to be able to sleep peacefully,” says a spokesman for the citizens’ initiative, Ulrich Scheuerl, who submitted the latest petition to the Bavarian state parliament. Although the night driving ban for heavy traffic has been in place for around 30 years, it is not controlled enough from the point of view of local residents.
Residents are demanding more controls and higher fines
They are calling for noise protection measures, stricter controls, higher fines and automated license plate recognition at night. But a standardized registration number registration seemed so far in terms of data protection.
The bypass for Bad Reichenhall is off the table in the medium term
The road construction authority in Traunstein also rated the traffic load in the Kleiner Deutsches Eck as “critical” in a city council meeting in April and assumes that traffic WILL continue to increase.
A much discussed bypass for Bad Reichenhall is still off the table for the time being. According to its own statements, the road construction authority lacks the capacity for planning. Instead, other measures are implemented. For example, the renovation of the Saalach bridge between Bad Reichehnall and Piding and the construction of a new junction with the A8.
Good solutions only in cooperation with Austria
But that’s not enough for the residents. The growing frustration among the citizens is also known in politics. The mayors along the route are now looking for solutions together with the district and are in contact with the state government and the Austrian authorities.
“There have been friction lately when it comes to border control,” says Mayor of Bad Reichenhall, Christoph Lung. He is referring to another block clearance on the A8 at the Walserberg border crossing, which was last threatened by the Austrian side. The solutions for the Kleine Deutsche Eck also depend on whether you can work well with your Austrian neighbors in the future.