Ordinary driving license suspension

Ordinary driving license suspension

In the panorama of road regulations in Switzerland, the ordinary driving license suspension occupies a central position. Acting as a mechanism for moderation and control, it is crucial in maintaining order and safety on Swiss roads. This article aims to address the topic of ordinary driving license suspension by highlighting its specificities within the Swiss legal framework.

Ordinary driving license suspension

In Switzerland, the ordinary driving license suspension is viewed as an administrative intervention intended to temporarily pause an individual’s right to drive following a violation of road regulations. This action is governed by the provisions of the Road Traffic Act (LCR), specifically articles 16 to 16e.

This measure is characterized by a temporary suspension of the driving privilege for a set duration. It is noteworthy that this differs from the cancellation of the license, which signifies a permanent prohibition. Here, once the suspension period has elapsed and the required conditions are met, the right to drive is restored.

In its essence, the ordinary driving license suspension functions as an administrative sanction, instituted by competent authorities not to penalize the driver, but rather to ensure public safety by suspending the driving privileges of individuals who have not complied with the current regulations.

The withdrawal process is often initiated by a police report documenting the transgression. Subsequently, the competent authorities assess the case, determine the degree of the offense, and establish an initial decision regarding the suspension. The driver is then notified of this decision and is offered the opportunity to appeal before a judicial administrative authority. If the appeal is rejected, the implementation of the withdrawal is then enacted.

It is essential that this measure respects the principles of legality, proportionality, and guarantees procedural rights. The withdrawal must be established on clear legal grounds, in line with the severity of the offense, and applied respecting the norms of administrative law, including the right to a fair trial.

Cases of ordinary suspension

Serious offenses, such as driving under the influence (art. 91 LCR), reckless driving (art. 90 para. 2 LCR), or disregarding traffic signs (art. 90 para. 1 LCR), can lead to an ordinary driving license suspension. The duration of the suspension is calculated by considering several factors such as the severity of the offense and the driver’s history.

Minor violations, like moderate speeding, can also result in a suspension, especially if they are committed repeatedly. Recurrence can indicate a constant neglect of road norms, thus justifying a suspension, even if each violation in isolation is considered minor.

There are also situations where the suspension is decreed for reasons not directly related to driving offenses, such as concerns about the driver’s medical fitness to drive (art. 15 LCR). In such cases, the primary objective remains the preservation of public safety, ensuring that only individuals fit to drive safely are permitted to do so.

Duration of ordinary suspension

In Switzerland, the duration of the ordinary driving license suspension is stipulated by article 16c of the Road Traffic Act (LCR), and typically ranges from a few months to several years, depending on the gravity of the committed offense.

One of the essential criteria in determining the duration of the suspension is the nature of the offense itself. For example, a serious speeding violation will result in a heavier sanction than a lighter offense. Recidivism is also a crucial element; repeated similar offenses over a short period could lead to a longer suspension.

The driver’s history is also considered, particularly the frequency of previous offenses and their relevance to the current transgression. This reflects the legislators’ intention to consider each case individually, while acknowledging that past behavior may indicate the driver’s future responsibility on the road.

Moreover, the duration of the suspension can be influenced by specific circumstances, mitigating or aggravating, related to the case, such as driving under the influence of substances, endangering others, or cooperation with the authorities. The consideration of these elements ensures that the duration of the suspension reflects not only the committed offense but also the context in which it occurred.

Conditions for reinstatement

The reinstatement of the driving license in Switzerland can be subject to several specific conditions, aiming to ensure that the driver has fully integrated their responsibilities and is ready to assume them.

In accordance with article 15 of the LCR, the authorities may require an assessment of the ability to drive, particularly if they have doubts about a person’s capacity to drive safely and responsibly. This could involve medical tests, psychological evaluations, or practical driving examinations. The purpose of these evaluations is to ensure that the driver is physically and mentally capable of driving safely. These tests may be necessary following serious offenses, such as driving under the influence, or if the authorities suspect a deterioration in the driver’s health.

Furthermore, article 16e of the LCR also provides for the possibility of requiring additional training, such as a road safety awareness course. These trainings aim to help drivers understand the implications of their actions, develop safer driving habits, and avoid future offenses.

It is also noteworthy that the duration of the suspension can be extended if the driver commits new offenses during the suspension period.

Thus, reinstatement is not automatic and is conditioned by the fulfillment of these requirements, which aim to ensure greater safety on the roads.


To guarantee the safety and well-being of all road users in Switzerland, the ordinary driving license suspension system functions as a framework and control mechanism. By adopting a personalized approach that considers the specifics of each case, it aims to educate and rehabilitate errant drivers, while maintaining a high level of road safety in Switzerland.

With an emphasis on rehabilitation and offering clear paths to reinstatement, the system seeks to balance the needs of public safety with individual rights and freedoms. In this regard, it functions as an essential element in preserving order and safety on Swiss roads, contributing to shaping a culture of responsible driving and respect for the law.

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