Poland

Published 2004.05.24 | Last update 2017.03.09

Polish traffic rules are mild and easy to understand. But take care, traffic police is everywhere and controls are massive.

 

To foreigners the Polish reactions to traffic offences seem mild. The fines are low and can even be negotiated on the spot. You can not automatically lose your license and the speeding fine system specifies the same fine for the same violation in all zones.

The important numbers :
Limit – km/h 50(1 90 100 120 140
Fine +20 km/h(2 €24 €24 €24 €24 €24
Fine +40 km/h(2 €72 €72 €72 €72 €72
LICENSE(3 100
1) 60 km/h during night from 23.00 to 05.00
2) Maximum fine.
3) You will get your license withdrawn in Poland but only in a built-up area with 50 kph plus. There is, however, a points system, with more than 24 points within 12 months you will lose your license. You can be given points for various offences at the same time. The maximum number of points for speeding is 10 points.
You will now lose your driving license automatically because of speeding in Poland.
In May, 2014 the Polish Ministry of Interior  introduced an immediate loss of the driving license for speeding. But only for exceeding the speed limit by 50 kph in a built-up area – and only for 3 months.

Foreigners will have to pay on the spot, Poles get a credit of 7 days.

For the complete list on Polish fines, check Taryfikator Mandatów i punktów karnych (Polish only).
NATO have good stuff on Polish traffic rules. Very good, very trustworthy.
For good advice, visit Driving in Poland.

Poland in detail :
violation fine(zloty)(1 fine(1 points
+ 1-10 km/h 50 €12 1
+ 11-20 km/h 100 €24 2
+ 21-30 km/h 200 €48 4
+ 31-40 km/h 300 €72 6
+ 41-50 km/h 400 €96 8
+ 51 km/h(2 500 €120 10
1) This is max fine
2) This fine is for the excessive speed only. If you get caught the Police can charge you with reckless driving. The fine will then increase, you may even get arrested.Source: Driving in Poland
Fines and reactions may change without any warnings.
Values in Euro are approximate.
About Polish police
The words below are all extracts of earlier comments to this web. The information may be outdated, things may have changed.
2004: Foreigners have to pay fines on the spot in Polish currency, although I have paid in other currencies. There are ever-changing tables specifying speeding fines. However, it is mostly down to your negotiating skills. For example, for 125 kph in a 70 kph zone, expect to start at around PLN 500 (about USD 125) and some guff about informing your Embassy. You should end up with paying PLN 100-200 and no further action.
There are no speed cameras. Enforcement is by hand-held radar. Almost invariably they lurk just inside built-up areas, often over a hill or round a corner, or at cross-roads with a 70 kph restriction. On a 300 km trip expect to go through at least three checks, up to about ten. On public holidays there are many more. Out of built-up areas and where there is no restriction, don’t worry.
2005: They’ve started using speed cameras and the number of cameras is increasing rapidly. They are installed no only in built up areas, but also on major intersections where the speed limit is posted lower than outside them.
2008: Since they started using mobile cameras, pictures are now taken both front and back..
2010: Negotiating with police is getting more and more difficult – especially if you meet a road police (“R” sign on the car door). They will give you a fine. But it depends. Few times they… let me go. Good advice: don’t try to fool out of them, telling you did nothing. If you admit your mistake, you would be in better position. You can try to ask, to get a ticket for different violation you did (for eg. no lights). Sometimes it works.”Since they started using mobile cameras, pictures are now taken both front and back..” – don’t worry. They won’t send any picture abroad. I can tell you more – none is interested in pictures with foreign machines (few times police said that oficially)
2011: The amount of unmarked police cars (mainly Vectra C, Passat, Megane, Octavia, Superb) with cameras is growing rapidly. You can find them on many roads. They are fast. If you are caught, don’t expect negotiations – whole duty is filmed, so guys can do nothing more than give you a ticket. Good news – police isn’t very interested in highways (no speed cameras there, small chance for meeting with a unmarked police car) so (on your own responsibility) you can go as fast as you want. 160-200 km/h is not an unusual speed. But be careful!!! Some people are not looking into mirrors!
Other points:

  • You have to carry all your documents with you: driving licence, international driving licence, passport, vehicle registration document and third party insurance. There is a fine of PLN 50 per document (but no more than 250 PLN in total) if any of these are missing but also a likely delay of up to an hour while they check everything and write it all down.
  • Bikes have to have lights on all year round.
  • Dark visors are legal and loud pipes are tolerated (although they annoy everyone IMO).
  • There is still priority to the right. In general this is over-ruled by the standard diamond sign but watch out for junctions in town away from the main roads and some roundabouts.
  • The standard of the roads is generally very poor, with worn-out, shiny asphalt and deep ruts from the trucks on the main routes. Bear this in mind before you attempt peg-scraping antics. You can often have far more fun finding a route using the “yellow” roads.
  • Polish drivers tend to be fast but lacking in skill. Many have minimal experience and it is still very common to pay a bribe for a driving licence.

36 Comments

  1. Potocki
    2017.03.07 @ 13:04

    Unmarked police cars in Poland.
    The banner on one bus I’ve seen in New Zealand said: ‘Thisi is not an unmarked police car, but any other car may be’. This is not the case in Poland. There are few things you should know and you’ll be able to differentiate cars which can be a potential threat from others.
    1. Brand. Polish police uses the cars which are popular in Poland. They mostly use: VW Passat, Skoda Superb, Fiat, Kia. A Renault may happen. Occassionaly other cars. They don’t use luxury cars like Mercedes, Audi nor sport cars like Porsche etc. Some BMW were reported but it’s an exception, not the rule. For some reason these cars are mostly sedans. If you see a fancy MercedesS, Audi8, or BMW7 it’s NOT THE POLICE.
    1a. Motorcycle. There are some undercover motorcycles in service, but it’s not so easy to undercover a motorcycle. If you see additional lights (not on) on a black motorcycle with a lot of boxes fixed up to the bike. Slow down and have a look. It can be Police. Thus, superbike, enduro, supermoto, chopper bikes are not used by police.
    2. Crew. In an unmarked police car there will be always 2 people inside (occupying front seats), unless there is a TV shown being recorded ;-). If there is one person inside – it is NOT THE POLICE CAR. Neither if there are 4 people inside.
    3. Dark back window. It’s often that police cars have dark back window, so you cannot see from the back what’s going on inside the car.
    4. Engine. Many cars have signs on their trunk saying what model/engine it is. Undercover police cars usually use the biggest petrol engines available in their cars, so it you see a ‘1,8 ltr TDI’ on a Passat it’s probably NOT THE PASSAT you want to avoid.
    5. Stickers and additional stuff. Unmarked police cars are cars owned and used by a govt agency. They don’t have a ski rack, a hook, not a sticker ‘Baby on board’ on their trunk. If you see one of these IT’S NOT THE POLICE CAR.
    6. Clean cars. For some reasons police cars rarely drive dirty. I’ve never seen a dirty unmarked police cars, so probably you will not see it either unless the weather is realy crappy. The probably wash them before starting the shift.
    7. Color. Police usually uses cars that have a dark color. Black, gray, beige, dark blue probably dominate. Haven’t see any red, yellow, pink cars hunting for the drivers.
    8. Behaviour. Remember unmarked police cars do not have a speed camera inside. All they have is a built in camera thar records your car, measure the speed OF THEIR CAR and distance to you. To measure your speed they have to either follow you or dirve in front of you with a CONSTANT SPEED, FOR A PERIOD OF TIME (a few seconds), HAVING A FIXED DISTANCE FORM YOU (allowing them to have your plates on the film). Thus, the unmarked police car would try to get directly behind you or in front of you AND STAY THERE for a few seconds. Watch your mirrors. If you passed a slow moving car and the car suddenly changes lanes to your lane and accelerates it’s either some young driver whose ambition has been toughed 😉 or it’s an officer trying to earn some money for the mayor’s office.

    Speed safely and don’t get caught!

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2017.03.07 @ 13:08

      Ah, 9. The plates. The unmarked police cars have regular plates (they are unmarked, right). The plates are usualy from the region they operate in. You do not have to be an experts on Polish license plates, but if all cars around have plates starting with eg. “W” letter (Warsaw region) and you see a car with plates starting with a totaly different letter eg. “O”, “G” etc. It’s probably not a police.

      Reply

      • TerjeEnge
        2017.03.09 @ 01:52

        Thank you, Potocky.
        This is the stuff I’d ike to see more of in these pages – I will try to include your info in the next version of Poland.

        Reply

        • Potocki
          2017.03.19 @ 17:46

          Thank you Terje,
          I forgot about one very typical unmarked police car brand. Opel Insignia Turbo. Now, it’s probably the most popular.
          Cheers!
          P

          Reply

  2. Potocki
    2017.03.07 @ 12:36

    Hi Terje,
    One correction to the numbers above. The speed limit on single lane expressways is 100 kmh, but on double lane expressways is 120 km not 110 as you mentioned.
    Cheers
    Potocki

    Reply

  3. James
    2016.10.25 @ 12:52

    I got caught for drink driving in Poland 6 months ago and have just received a letter back in the U.K. Calling for payment of 2130PLN from the court. It’s given me 30days to pay which had already expired before I received the letter. What would be there next course of action?

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2017.03.07 @ 12:33

      What were you sentenced for? A crime? >0,05 alc (‘prowadzenie pojazdu po spożyciu alkoholu’ -driving while intoxicated) or a minor offence? >0,02 alc (‘prowadzenie pojazdu w stanie wskazującym na spożycie alkoholu’ -driving under influence of alcohol or a similar agent)? I don’t know if there is a EU law or an agreement between UK and Poland regarding fines for minor offences but I am pretty sure that I we talk about a sentence for a crime of driving intoxicated there will be paperwork sent to U.K. and U.K. authorities may be forced to collect it.

      Reply

  4. Momcakg
    2016.10.14 @ 14:38

    And if speed camera take picture of car that it is not eu plates?

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2017.03.07 @ 12:27

      Then, the owner of this car may sleep well. 🙂

      Reply

  5. Potocki
    2016.07.27 @ 16:20

    Having the license suspended. As you know (from the top of the page) driving 100 kmh in the city (50 kmh speed limit) will cause your license suspended. It is unconditional (in the sense that a policeman cannot decide not to take away your license). The thing is that there is a hole in the system. If you fail to produce a valid driver’s license to the policeman as you are beeing stopped (you forgot to take it from your house), there is no legal way to force you to send/bring them the license later. In that case there will be no license suspension AT ALL. It will be like that at least until 1 Jan 2017. The problem may be if you do not have a Polish driving license. If have a Polish one, but you will not produce it to the policeman he will check you in the system (whether you are eligible to drive a given vehicle) and fine you for driving without carrying a valid document with a 50 PLN FINE ONLY. So it is the obvious solution. I am not sure however what happens if you have a foreign driving license, but fail to produce it to the policeman. He will not be able to check whether you have the proper license for your vehicle or not…

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2017.03.19 @ 17:54

      IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The parliament has corrected the loophole above. From the 1st of Jan 2017 on faillure to produce a driving licence after being stopped because of speeding over 50 kmh above the limit (eg. 100 kmh at 50 kmh limit) in the city will not prevent you from having the licence suspended for 3 months. So if you have a Polish driving licence and want to speed more than 50 above the limit, be very careful!

      Reply

  6. Zain
    2016.03.14 @ 11:19

    Hello i received letter of exceeding speed limit while driving in poland. I went there to visit my friend. I live in germany and have german driving license. my question is what if i dont pay ? will i be banned in poland and in germany also? by the way i was using my friends car which is registered in germany. so basically he got the letter.

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2016.07.27 @ 15:11

      What does it say? You probably will not be banned anywhere. If it is a speed camera they need first to prove who was driving. They cannot force you to pay the ticket unless they have a proof that you were behind the wheel. What you probably got is the letter asking you to reveal who was driving. You may not answer but better is to answer that you don’t remember or say that you borrowed your car to somebody. It is generally difficult for them to prove who was driving and they usualy give up in more complicated cases. I don’t think anybody would know that you haven’t paid after they stop you in Poland. There are different systems. They would know if you eg. earned more than 24 points or we a subject of a arrest warrant, but not because a failure to pay road fines. I live in Poland often do not pay fines and nothing happens on the road.

      Reply

  7. John
    2015.11.12 @ 11:46

    Hi,
    I recieved 400zl fine in court of Poland. Does anybody know, where should I transfer that fine??? Or should I just ignore it, unless they stop me next time and add some penalty? 🙂

    Reply

    • Darek
      2016.01.18 @ 17:50

      Have You paid already? Each court in Poland has got a webside with many informations, one of them is always the number of bank account to pay the fines. Unfortunatelly that’s in polish, but maybe You can ask someone to help translate.

      Reply

  8. Tarek
    2015.08.25 @ 14:24

    Anybody can say me if I want to check my driving license in Poland is it original of copy then how I check this any suggestions please.

    Reply

  9. Andrew
    2015.07.31 @ 22:47

    The 2004 comments and the “other points” below were written by me. They were true at the time and I suppose are of historical interest, but times have changed massively since then so don’t any longer place reliance on them.

    Those were good times, when I could try my K1200 RS on the new highway near Opole at 250kph, even passing a parked police car, without any problem, or get stopped at 180kph in a 70kph and negotiate for PLN 50 (just over £10).

    But those times are no more, as (mostly) are fortunately the ruts on corners that could ditch you in the nearby field.

    The roads are (a bit) safer. Speeding isn’t.

    Be careful, have fun.

    Reply

    • TerjeEnge
      2015.08.16 @ 11:30

      Thank You, Andrew!

      Reply

    • Eldora
      2016.02.10 @ 01:08

      Thinking like that is really imessrpive

      Reply

  10. mathew
    2015.07.30 @ 18:56

    What if i dont pay ,,mandat karny,, for speeding ? Is there an expiration date ( normaly is 1 year in CZ ) ? Or can they give me some penalty next time or will they send me home something ?

    Reply

  11. Thomas
    2015.07.23 @ 14:13

    Good web site for Polish speedcams: http://www.poipoint.eu

    Reply

  12. Potocki
    2015.06.28 @ 02:28

    No problem. I thought that my comments were simply rejected. That’s why I posted that comment. Sorry. You are doing a great job running this site. Stationary radars (always in yellow boxes, and followed by warning signs) may photograph both from the front and from the rear. The same is with mobile radars, but those usually tend to follow cars that are speeding not go in front of them. (It’s probably due to the fact that that Polish law does not allow unmarked police cars to speed or break other traffic regulations. It’s ‘grey’ zone. Normaly police will not accuse a policemen on duty for speeding, but if you prove that a police car was speeding even though it wasn’t following anybody in front of the court of justice… who knows.). However it happens that an unmarked police car would record you while driving in front of you (although it is not very often).
    Speed safely!

    Reply

  13. Potocki
    2015.05.25 @ 00:40

    I’ve posted 2 post about speeding regulations and conditions in Poland. I see they are no longer there, so I understand they didn’t go through moderation process. I was going to post a 3rd one, but I see you don’t want other people to participate and update your informations (except from saying ‘very good’). It’s said.
    Cheers
    P

    Reply

    • TerjeEnge
      2015.06.19 @ 00:20

      Sorry, Potocki. I am very sorry for my late response – and thank you for your posts.
      I started this web last winter, got no response and forgot to check and approve the comments …(
      I will get back to your info and will try to integrate with the standard text.
      One question: Does the Finnish radars photograph the vehicles from the front (as in Norway) or from the rear (as in Spain)?
      Speed safely!

      Reply

  14. Ludmila
    2015.05.22 @ 23:52

    Guys, the law you mentioned have finally been introduced in Poland. Now, you can lose you licence for 3 months for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h in a built-up area.

    Reply

  15. Karol
    2015.05.18 @ 17:40

    From May,18 2015 in Poland the driving licence will be automatically suspended by the police officer for speeding more than 50 kph over the limit (ex. 100 kph within the built-up area).
    “Bikes have to have lights on all year round.” – Cars and motorbikes have to have lights on all year round. Bikes (bicycles) have to have lights on only from dusk till dawn.

    Reply

    • TerjeEnge
      2015.06.19 @ 00:18

      Thank You.
      This was new info and it will be included. But remember that Norway will jail you for 50 kph plus …)

      Reply

      • Potocki
        2015.06.28 @ 02:35

        That’s true but personaly I believe that’s a sign of a absolute madnes. In Norway they put you in jail for driving over 150 kmh down the empty motorway, but if you take a gun and kill over a dozen of innocent people they will let you out of jail after doing a 15-25 years in that jail. Absolute nonsense! At least in my personal oppinion…
        Speed safely!

        Reply

  16. Potocki
    2015.05.18 @ 00:43

    A few words about speed cameras. According to the law speed cameras in Poland are allowed only if they are installed in yellow colored boxes or inside a police or municipal police (Straz Miejska) car and accompanied by a warning sign “Uwaga fotoradar”. Grey boxes still standing at the roads that used to house speed cameras are empty. There are more warning signs then actually the cameras, so they can be installed in different places. Polish law does not make assumptions about the person driving the car in the moment of picture being taken. After the car has been caught speeding and the picture is been taken the procedure of driver identification starts. The police identifies the owner of the car and sends him/her a letter demanding to reveal the personality of the driver. The owner is generaly legaly obliged to do so, however failure to do so is a subject to a fine which is generaly smaller than speeding itslef (and there are no penalty points for it). The easiest way the driver can do not to get points is to fail to reveal the personality of the driver and accept the fine for doing so. Those with more legal expertise may try to fail to reveal the personality of the driver and NOT accept the fine for doing so. That brigns the case to the court of law (usually, sometimes police gives up). There are some exceptions where a person is not obliged to testify against a family member. Also ‘not remembering’ who the driver was sometimes works. You need to know that courts nearly alway give a sentence against the driver in the first instance (simplified procedure). To realy get in front of the court you need to object the 1st instance sentence. Then normal trial starts. Drivers often win at the court or loose getting a fine similar to what they would get from the police but later. If you are a foreigner and do not care about penalty points it may be simpliest to confess and accept the fine for speeding. However beware of new regulations regarding driving license suspension for >50kmh over the limit in town. You will never loose you license for failing to reveal the personality of the driver even if it’s definitely you sitting inside the car!
    Speed safely!

    Reply

  17. Potocki
    2015.05.18 @ 00:24

    Today is a dark day for drivers and speeders in Poland. From today on, for the first time in history the police is obliged to take away the driving license or a driver who exceeds the allowed speed limit IN THE CITY by 50 kmh or more. The person who does that faces a suspension of his/her driving license for 3 moths. Technicaly you still can drive for 24 hours after being caught. Then you need to stop. Execution of these laws against foreign drivers is still a question. Will let you know after consulting my lawyers.
    Speed safely!

    Reply

    • Potocki
      2015.06.28 @ 03:24

      One moderately good news.. Polish judges are strongly against driving license suspension law. They filed a notion to Ombundsman asking him to apply to the Constitutional Court to proclaim the new law be against the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (what would mean aboliton of this law if so). We will see whether the Ombundsman will proceed the case and what Constitutional Court will say. It may take months or even over a year, but there is slight hope that the normality will return one day…
      Speed safely!

      Reply

      • pmdw1
        2016.02.29 @ 12:56

        Hypothetically speaking: If as a UK citizen I were to receive a letter from the Polish authorities, accusing me of doing 105/km/h in a 50km/h zone in a hire car hired in my name. What would you suggest my best course of action to be?

        Reply

        • Potocki
          2016.07.27 @ 16:35

          Rule no 1. DON’T CONFESS. The first is the the form of the letter they’ve sent you. If it is a registered letter, it maybe better to answer. If it is not (you haven’t confirmed receiving the letter anyhow) just ignore it. What language is the letter in? If it is in Polish I wouldn’t answer. As a British citizen you do not have to speak Polish (even if you actualy speak that language perfectly). If it is in English and the know that you received it, the question is what’s inside. They probably want you to confess that it was you driving, or point the driver or fail to point the driver and accept the fine for not pointing the driver. DO NOT CONFESS. You may fail to confess and accept the fine (which is 400PLN I think, which is less that a speeding ticket). That ends the case. If you want to play a bit you may point somebody, who you lend the car for a short while (but you do not know whether he/she was dirving). That person may be living……in Australia, or Vanuatu…. Than, thay would have to send the same letter there. And what if that person says that he/she lend the car to somebody leaving in … Turks and Caicos…? 😉 The time flies and they have only 1 year to accuse somebody and 2 years to fine him. Practicaly: the will give up after receiving your letter. If you fail to point out the driver but DO NOT ACCEPT the fine for not pointing or reply them stating that they eg. should have a sexual intercourse with somebody from their family/dog etc., or simply do not reply at all, they may bring the case to the court. It is not always bad to get to the court, but it can be a problem for you as you live in Britain and may not speak Polish. I sometimes choose to go to the court, where I usualy win, but I am living in Poland, speak Polish and have studied law.

          Reply

          • Potocki
            2016.07.27 @ 16:37

            And remember there is no way they can force you to give them the license and have it suspended unless you hand it to the policeman AT THE MOMENT YOU WERE STOPPED after speeding over 49 kmh over the limit in the city.

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