Don't Drive in Austria or Switzerland Without Your Road Tax Stamp Sticker

May 24, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
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There are big fines for drivers in Austria and Switzerland who don’t have a Vignette Sticker (road tax stamp for driving on motorways and expressways) – so vacationers with rental cars beware!  Thanks go to Luda Kirk for sharing a painful tale of being fined in Austria for not having the proper sticker.  And you thought getting a speeding ticket was infuriating – read this:

“While driving between Germany and Italy I happened upon a service oasis outside Hohenems on the E43.  Before I was aware I was flagged down by an official looking gentlemen holding a small stop sign standing on the roadside.  He politely notified me that I was driving on Austrian roads without the proper permit.  Surprised, I asked him to explain, which he did.  About 200 meters before him I had crossed into Austria (now if there had been significant signs stating such I would have known, but it looked just like a dozen other service stops on the highway) and was now required to have a road permit.  I said I wasn’t 1) aware I had entered Austria and 2) saw/knew nothing about a required road tax/toll/permit. That mattered nothing to him and it would now cost me 120 Euros (~$160). He said there were signs in English as I approached the border which I later verified was not true. But they had me, (and 4 other carloads at the time I was stopped, all unwitting tourists like myself). Either I pay their extorted 120 Euros or they impound my car, detain me and charge me 3000 Euros for not complying.  Nice place.  Worst than a Georgian speed trap.

Now I may not have seen the signs leading to this fiasco but I could read the signs now.  So I paid their grimy little tourist tax vowing never to return to their miserable little tourist trap and to tell whoever I meet what a petty and disingenuous place Austria is. I will someday be offered an opportunity to extract recompense and I assure you it will be sweet.

So if you drive in that region, avoid Austria, and if you can’t avoid it all together, figure out to purchase their toll pass for 7.70 Euros before they can rob you of much much more.

Switzerland BTW has a similar tax but they were very polite and accommodating allowing you to buy as you cross into Switzerland.”

So be forewarned, when renting a car in Europe ask in advance if any Vignette Stickers are needed.  

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Category: Austria, Car Rental, Featured, Switzerland Travel Tips