Diplomatic corps

Diplomats Commit 23,000 Traffic Violations Per Year

Traveler
No need to look for a parking meter. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Diplomats stationed in Berlin committed 22,816 traffic violations last year, according to data from Berlin’s state government which Handelsblatt has seen. The most common infractions were parking violations, followed by speeding.

The figure may seem high but is lower than that of 2015, when authorities recorded 24,118 violations committed by foreign envoys.

Thanks to their diplomatic immunity, ambassadors don’t fear retribution: the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 gives diplomats immunity from criminal prosecution. A diplomatic number plate and a “CD” bumper sticker, which stands for “Corps Diplomatique” in French, are enough to escape a penalty.

Berlin’s police have repeatedly asked diplomats to follow road traffic regulations but despite these efforts, the number of traffic violations per year has hovered above 20,000 for years.

The German capital, where most embassy personnel are based, is disproportionately affected. In 2014, Berlin state authorities calculated that the 23,403 offenses reported that year generated €403,275 ($430,450) in fines — or just €0 thanks to diplomatic immunity.