Exceeding the speed limit can result in unpleasant sanctions in Switzerland. This makes it all the more important to know the Swiss traffic rules.  The Swiss courts judge according to exact speed limits, whereby the concrete circumstances in individual cases are not taken into account. So whether someone drives too fast because of an important appointment or considers the traffic situation to be harmless is irrelevant and is generally not taken into account. Speeding is divided into speeding in built-up areas, speeding outside built-up areas (including motorways) and speeding on freeways. An offence against the traffic rules is punishable by a criminal conviction as well as an administrative measure (withdrawal of driver license) in first cases.

Violation of traffic regulations in the city: In built-up areas, speed limits of up to 50km/h are permitted. Exceeding this speed limit by up to 15 km/h is only punishable by a fine and no administrative action is taken. If the speed limit is exceeded by 16-20 km/h, the driver will be warned and the violation will be considered a minor offence. If the speed limit is exceeded by 21-24 km/h, the driver’s license will be revoked for at least one month in addition to the fine which is a medium offense.

Exceeding the speed limit outside of the city: Outside built-up areas, speeding up to 80 km/h is allowed. Again, exceeding this speed limit by up to 20 km/h, a warning is issued and the offence is called a light offence. An exceeding of 26-29 km/h leads to a withdrawal of the driving license for at least one month and represents a medium serious offence. A serious offence is when the speed limit is exceeded by 30 km/h, which leads to the withdrawal of the driver license for at least three months.

Exceeding the speed limit on highways: On Swiss highways, speed limits of up to 120 km/h are permitted. Exceeding this speed limit by up to 25 km/h does not result in administrative measures. If the sped limit is exceeded by 26-30 km/h, a warning will be issued, which is a minor offence. If the speed limit is exceeded by 31-34 km/h, the driver license will be revoked for at least one month. The driver license will continue to be revoked for up to three months if the speed limit is exceeded by 35km/h. This is a serious offence.

If this is not the first violation of the speed limits by the driver, significantly longer withdrawal periods must be expected.

In so-called speeding cases, the driver’s license must be surrendered for at least two years. A speeding case is assumed, in case of speeding violations of

  • 40 km/h, where the maximum speed does not exceed 30 km/h
  • 50 km/h, where the maximum speed is 50 km/h or less
  • 60 km/h, where the maximum speed is 80 km/h
  • 80 km/h, where the maximum speed is more than 80 km/h

In order to regain the driving license in these cases, the minimum withdrawal period must have expired. In addition, a traffic psychology report must usually be presented, which confirms the driver’s suitability for driving.

Procedure for administrative measures 

A violation of traffic regulations triggers criminal proceedings (fines, penalties, imprisonment) as well as administrative proceedings (withdrawal of driver license), whereby the administrative proceedings are usually suspended until the criminal proceedings are legally concluded.  Any objections and arguments for exoneration should therefore be raised during the criminal proceedings. The driver has the right to be heard in court and can defend himself in the event of an incorrect finding. In criminal proceedings, he can also demand access to the files and refuse to give evidence.