The District Court of Frankfurt am Main has – in a decision that was criticized early on – stated that in the case of red light violations with a so-called Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), an increase in the standard fine may be appropriate (District Court of Frankfurt am Main, judgment of June 3rd, 2022, 974 OWi 533 Js-OWi 18474/22).
According to the findings of the court in fine proceedings, the person concerned drove his vehicle in Frankfurt am Main (crossing Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage), a so-called BMW Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV for short), which in terms of its design differed from normal motor vehicles in such that it has increased ground clearance, enter the crossing area regulated by the traffic light system. At this point, the red phase had already lasted longer than 1.1 seconds.
The district court, which also determined the correctness of the measurement made using a permanently installed measuring column, saw an increase in the standard fine provided for this by the applicable catalog of fines as necessary due to the special vehicle procurement in the specific case.
This is justified by the increased operating risk of the motor vehicle used, whose boxy design and raised front end increase the risk of injury to other road users:
In the assessment, the court took into account the fact that the person concerned had several previous entries in the register of fitness to drive within the framework of Section 3 (1) BKatV. Accordingly, the fine had to be increased.
In addition, the increased operating risk of the vehicle used was taken into account when assessing the fine at the expense of the person concerned. The boxy design and increased front end of the vehicle due to the greater ground clearance increase the risk of injury to other road users in an SUV. There is therefore an increased operating risk compared to a passenger car of conventional design (cf. also Higher Regional Court Hamm, judgment of September 30, 1996 – 6 U 63/96, NZV 1997, 230).
Due to the greater abstract danger from the motor vehicle being driven, the red light violation committed is more serious than the normal case; especially since the provisions of § 37 StVO on alternating light signals aim to protect crossing road users in the intersection area of the traffic light system in the event of a collision. Therefore, this case has a special feature that distinguishes it from ordinary circumstances, so that the standard fine must be increased accordingly.
Against the background of these considerations, the court considers that a Fine of 350 euros to fix.
Due to the greater abstract danger posed by the vehicle involved in the crime, according to the District Court of Frankfurt am Main, the red light violation committed is more serious than the normal case. This applies in particular to the objective of §37 StVO on alternating light signals, which protects crossing road users in the area of traffic lights intended in a collision (source: press release of the court)