Vehicle log book

If you have been ordered to keep a vehicle log book after someone else committed a driving offence in your vehicle, our team of German lawyers can give you advice on what to do next.

A vehicle owner can be ordered to keep a vehicle log book if someone else was using their vehicle when a driving offence was committed. This is because only the person who was driving the vehicle at the time may be fined, or receive points on their licence or a driving ban.

Vehicle log book

Picture: © Gina Sanders -

Sometimes the authorities are unsuccessful in discovering who the driver was and as a result they order the vehicle owner to maintain a vehicle log book. The aim of the log book is to ensure that the perpetrators of any future driving offence are caught.

The authorities have discretion, after considering the facts of the case, to fix the duration for which the vehicle owner must fill in the vehicle log book.

Under German road traffic law, a vehicle owner can only be ordered to maintain a vehicle log book if the investigating authority is unable to find the driver and when the driving offence committed was a severe one (§ 31a German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations).

A one-off minor offence is unlikely to lead to a log book order. On the other hand, the authorities could be justified in ordering the owner of a vehicle to maintain a log book for a first-time unexplained motoring offence, such as where the person driving the vehicle exceeded the speed limit by more than 20 km/h. In such cases a 12 month log book order could be considered reasonable.

What can you do to avoid being ordered to maintain a log book?

The authorities are under a general obligation to use all reasonable endeavours to find the driver who committed an offence.
To fulfil their obligations the authorities may contact the passport authorities to compare photographs with images they have from a traffic enforcement camera. They could also visit the vehicle owner’s address to see if the driver they are looking for lives there.

If the authorities do order the vehicle owner to keep a vehicle log book, the order could apply not only to the specific vehicle in question, but also to all vehicles the owner possesses.

As keeping a vehicle log book can be laborious and cumbersome, it is advisable to seek legal advice early so that all options can be explored for avoiding a log book order.

For more advice on the correct steps to take in order to avoid a vehicle log book order, contact our team of German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0.

Back to Road Traffic Law

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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