Monday, 7 November 2022

New Croatian Fuel Prices Tomorrow, Price Increase for One Type

November the 7th, 2022 - Inflation is continuing to pile the pressure on everyone's bank accounts, wallets and back pockets. With spiralling prices and a lack of stability continuing to dominate, Croatian fuel prices are set to change yet again as of tomorrow, with quite an increase on the cards for one type.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as RTL Danas/Today has unofficially learned, Croatian fuel prices are set to change once again as of Tuesday, with basic Eurosuper 95 being 48 lipa per litre more expensive, while diesel will be cheaper by 25 lipa per litre.

The Croatian Government will most likely step in and freeze the price of blue diesel so that it remains at 8.49 kuna per litre. The average tank for fiel should as such increase in price by 24 kuna at the pump, while diesel vehicle owners will pay 12.5 kuna less from Tuesday on than they currently are.

According to the Government decree on determining the highest retail prices of oil derivatives, over the last two weeks, the price of basic Eurosuper has been 11.10 kuna per litre, while the price of Eurodiesel has been 13.44 kuna.

For more on Croatian fuel prices and other news, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Works on Long Awaited "Most Expensive Croatian Road" Going Full Speed Ahead

November the 5th, 2022 - Works on the construction of what's often referred to (and has been being called that for about a decade, to be precise) the ''most expensive Croatian road'' are now well underway. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the D 403 road - which is currently being constructed in Rijeka - is one of the most important and expensive infrastructure projects in the entire country at this moment in time. Known as the most expensive Croatian road, it will eventually connect the container terminal of the Port of Rijeka with the A7 motorway as part of a larger trans-European transport network. This very difficult and demanding construction project is estimated to stand at a staggering approximate of 460 million kuna, as reported by HRT.

A whole decade has now gone by with people waiting for the most expensive Croatian road's actual realisation. Roundabouts, viaducts and a tunnel that stretches under urban areas is unique in the Republic of Croatia, and this adds to the difficulties faced in this phase.

"We've reached the Podmurvice tunnel, which is 1,263 metres long and very demanding because it was built in the middle of the city. We have two viaducts - Mlaka, 150 metres long, and Piopi, which is 315 metres long," said Martin Abramovic from Croatian Roads (Hrvatske ceste).

The construction of this brand new and much anticipated road means the development of a complete Croatian traffic route, as was pointed out by Denis Vukorepa of the Rijeka Port Authority.

"This new road will be connected to the container terminal, we'll cover the entire hinterland of [this part of] Europe, and we will also connect that road through what is now the port area, tomorrow we'll take that area out of the port area with the waterfront, you will have a ring going around the City of Rijeka,'' Vukorepa explained.

The dizzying rise in prices as a result of ongoing inflationary pressures requires a certain risk in solving all the previously outlined plans. "The increasing prices of materials, energy sources and raw materials are certainly putting pressure on liquidity, we're in negotiations with investors and we hope that we will soon find a solution to at least partially cover these costs," said Sanjin Puric from GP Krk.

Another challenge in realising this capital project, which European Union funds are financing as much as 85 percent, is the lack of manpower here in Croatia. This country is now importing more and more labour from elsewhere, and the construction of the so-called most expensive Croatian road is no exception.

Part of the labour force present on the construction site today are from Turkey, India, and of course, from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, which isn't unusual. The D403 road construction project began back in mid-2020, and the plan is for it to be completed at the end of June next year, when the traffic jams on Rijeka's roads should finally become a thing of the past.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Roads, Laws, Alcohol and Car Rentals - How to Drive in Croatia

October the 18th, 2022 - When it comes to the question of how to drive in Croatia, you'll need to pay attention to several road rules and laws that might differ slightly to those of your own country, such as keeping up with traffic updates on road closures due to strong winds like bura on the coast.

People always laugh at me when I go on about how good Croatian roads are, but they really, really are. Compared to British roads anyway. The further north you get in the UK, the more track-like they become. The amount of potholes in the roads where I come from would soon dislodge any kidney stone, they might take a filling or two away, as well.

To say that Croatia is for the most part a very rugged, mountainous land, with the exception of the Eastern part of the country, the roads are absolutely outstanding. The new motorways built not so long ago make everything easier and the country is extremely well connected, but what about actually driving on them?

You drive in Croatia on the right and all overtaking is done on the left. Seat-belts are of course compulsory, and the use of mobile phones or any other device while driving is banned. The police are very much on the ball with this type of thing, more so than in other countries. This is especially the case during the busy summer months, when there is more traffic in general and unfortunately - more accidents also.

The motorway speed limit is 130 km/h, 90 km/h on national roads, and 50 km/h in urban areas.

Winter tyres and headlights during the day are requirements during the winter months, from around November the 15th to April the 15th.

Croatia's motorways are relatively new, fantastically built and very, very expensive. They will likely remain looking brand new for a while to come yet, as for the most part, the newer sections are rather empty, apart from during the peak tourist season when they’re packed with cars and motorhomes with foreign licence plates all heading down to the coast. Because of the sudden increase in traffic, traffic jams, long queues at the country’s various land border crossings and bottlenecks are frequent occurrences.

During these times of heightened tension, sweltering heat and the endless ‘are we there yet’ on repeat from the back seat, it makes sense to consider taking the old road from Zagreb down to Split, which is usually fairly empty (unless everyone has had the exact same idea, of course), but also stunningly beautiful. You’ll see parts of Croatia’s absolutely jaw dropping coastline that you otherwise would completely bypass, and with the amount of cars on the road during summer, there’s no guarantee you’d have reached your final destination much faster anyway.

Toll prices are expensive and can be paid for by cash (kuna) or by credit/debit card. Non-residents have always been able to pay for this service in euros, which of course will also be the norm as of the 1st of January, 2023, when Croatia becomes the newest Eurozone member and adopts the single currency. Prices are reduced by 10% in winter, and to work out the costs of your road trip, there is an interactive motorway map and toll calculator available if you visit www.hac.hr/en/interactive-map.

If you live in Croatia and you plan to become a regular motorway user, you can apply for the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) scheme, which has the dual benefit of offering a discount on toll prices, as well as a separate toll booth (the special booth will be marked with the letters ENC). This is usually less busy. The downside is that the service is a prepaid one, but if you’re a regular, you’ll be glad of it.

Car rentals

As one would expect for a major tourist destination, Croatia has a wide selection of car rental options available, from large, well known companies to smaller agencies which might be more flexible in what they offer should you need that. These vehicles can be rented from airports and delivered to hotels, and the concept of one-way rental is commonplace all over the country. Some of the more enterprising island-based car rental companies, for instance, offer one day rental cars with collection taking place at the ferry terminal itself. This allows tourists to come and sample a given island in one single day without the added expense and stress of two ferry tickets. I’ll talk more about this in the ‘Getting Around’ chapter.

Up to date traffic information in English 

You can easily find the latest road information in English language on the HAK website (as well as current information on ferries, trains, and borders). The website you’ll need is the following: www.hak.hr. Additionally, the Croatian Motorways website has a section with the very latest updates. Additionally, you can download the HAK traffic app, which gives you all the latest information in English, as well as help with roadside assistance should you need it, which hopefully you won’t. There is also a comprehensive database of 15,000 places of interest, spanning everything from national parks to healthcare facilities. We hope you’ll be making more trips to the former than the latter.

Don’t consume any alcohol if you’re getting behind the wheel in Croatia

Croatian law has a zero tolerance policy for drivers under 25 which means that their blood alcohol level (BAC) limit is a very strict, very clear 0%. The BAC limit for drivers over 25 years old isn’t much different, at just 0.05% (or 0.5 g/l). It is never worth it to drink and drive, wherever you are, but the rules here are very strict and the police are very active during the summer months. If you're going to drive in Croatia, just put the Karlovacko down unless you want to end up with a headache far stronger than beer could ever give you.

Webcams

HAK has a good network of webcams located all over the country for motorists looking to keep an eye on the latest situations on various roads. These include several locations on each or Croatia's motorways, ferry terminals, important bridges, national roads, and border crossings.

Driving and ferry crossings

A drive in Croatia is never quite complete without a trip to some of the country's stunning islands, which is a very popular activity, especially in the summer. While the car ferry service generally works well, it won’t hurt to keep a few things firmly in mind before you embark: Firstly, buying a car ticket doesn’t guarantee you entry on the ferry. It seems a bit illogical I know, but boarding a ferry with a car is carried out on a strictly first come, first served basis, and if you want to ensure you make the ferry with your car, you should get there with plenty (and I mean plenty) of time to spare during the peak tourist season when many ferries are packed solid. If the ferries cannot handle the sheer amount of human (and car) traffic, there are often additional ferries put into function on various busy lines in order to reduce the waiting times. Don’t count on this, however, just get there with some time to kill. If you’re interested in ferries, catamarans and how they work, I’ll get into that in the ‘Getting Around’ chapter as well.

Parking

I’m sure that Diocletian could never have imagined that in a few centuries time, people would be lining the narrow, ancient streets of the city in which he chose to build his remarkable retirement palace (Split), with Ford Fiestas that have been reversed into and scratched by scooters a few dozen times. Parking in Croatia is, to put it bluntly, a complete and utter pain in the backside, especially in the bigger cities. You might get lucky now and again, and outside of the summer season, you do get lucky more frequently, but technology has had to step in and come to the rescue of many a frustrated driver. One of the best examples of this is the SMS parking service which is now available in most bigger Croatian cities.

Once you’ve parked, you just need to dial the number on the parking info sign which will be easily located and seen where you’ve parked, enter your licence plate, and your payment will be added to your phone bill. Innovative!

Do be aware, however, that street parking in the City of Zagreb is limited to 2 or 3 hours in the very centre. So, if you do manage to find a spot and think you are there for the day, think again. There are various garages and other parking options where you can freely leave your car, however. They can come at a bit more of a cost, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Electric vehicles

Croatia is the birthplace of the genius Nikola Tesla, who was born in Smiljan (which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in Western Lika on the 10th of July, 1856. The name ‘Tesla’ is now synonymous with the electric cars which we’re seeing more and more frequently on the roads, in spite of their expense. 

A modern-day genius from Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mate Rimac, has been keeping Nikola’s desires alive in this country. This doggedly determined Croatian entrepreneur and passionate lover of cars has been continuing the Croatian mantle of electric innovation, and doing so beyond successfully. His company Rimac Automobili produces the fastest electric supercars in the entire world, and it is doing so in a country with no other automotive industry to even speak of. Sometimes described as Europe's very own Elon Musk, Rimac is the protagonist of what is by far modern day Croatia’s most successful entrepreneurial story.

Thanks to both Nikola and Mate, the electric vehicle revolution is being drip fed into Croatia much like it is everywhere else, and Tesla charging stations are on the increase. There are now hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations across the entire country, and their numbers will just keep on increasing as electric cars grow in popularity.

I’m a resident of Croatia with a foreign driving licence, do I need to exchange it?

Short answer, yes, but not everyone does. 

If your driving licence has been issued by another EEA member state

An application for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence needs to be submitted at (you guessed it) an administrative police station which deals with the issuance of driving licences. Once you’re there the clerk will fill in the application form for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence and you as the applicant will need to confirm the accuracy of the data the clerk has entered by signing the application form.

You’ll need to provide the following:

Proof of your identity (a passport, government issued ID or your Croatian residence permit)

Your driving licence issued by another EEA member state

A 35x45 mm photograph of you

Proof of you having paid an administrative fee for the procedure. This payment can be made using a paper payment slip or via internet banking.  The payment should be made to the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB, purpose of payment: ‘državne upravne pristojbe’

Proof of you having paid for either a standard procedure, an accelerated procedure, or  an urgent procedure for the issuance of a Croatian driving licence. Choose a standard procedure if you’re in no rush to get the document, and the latter two if you are, obviously.  You can pay with a paper payment slip which can be collected at the administrative police station, with a general payment slip or via internet banking. 

You’ll need to pay into the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR65, reference number: 7005-477-OIB

If the date of first issuance for each category of vehicle the licence allows you to drive isn’t specified on the driving licence issued in another EEA member state, you’ll also need to enclose a certificate from the competent EEA member state authority confirming the date of first issuance for each category.

If your driving licence has been issued by a third country (a non-EEA member state)

The process and where you need to go (to an administrative police station which deals with the issuing of driving licences) is the same as is detailed above, but the documents you’ll need varies slightly. You’ll need the following:

Proof of your identity

Your foreign driving licence issued in a non-EEA member state

A translation of that foreign driving licence if the categories for which the licence can be exchanged are not evident, or if it isn’t evident whether the foreignlicence is still valid, or if it expired more than six months ago

A medical certificate confirming you can indeed drive a vehicle. This certificate can’t be older than six months

A 35x35 mm photo of you

Proof of you having paid an administrative fee for the procedure in the amount either with a payment slip or using internet banking. The payment should be made to the Croatian state budget’s bank account, the details of which are the following:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB, purpose of payment: ‘državne upravne pristojbe’

Proof of you having paid for a standard procedure, an accelerated procedure or an urgent procedure. The payment details are as follows:

IBAN: HR1210010051863000160, model: HR65, reference number: 7005-477-OIB.

If the date of first issuance for each vehicle category is not specified on your licence, you also need to enclose a certificate issued by the competent foreign authority confirming the date of first issuance for each category.

Things to note

There is no need to enclose a photo of you if, over the last five years, you’ve been issued with a biometric passport, an e-ID card, or an e-driving licence issued after September the 4th, 2017, for the issuance of which a photo was enclosed, provided that your appearance hasn’t changed significantly.

Just like anywhere else, Croatia has some excellent drivers and some absolutely terrible ones. Sometimes, the driving leaves a lot to be desired in more rural areas, so do take care and always abide by the national rules if you want to drive in Croatia, whether you be in a selo (village) or a grad (town or city). As I mentioned before, the police tend to be much more on the ball when it comes to traffic offences here, especially during summer.

For more on How to Croatia, which we'll write each week, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 9 October 2022

Want Personalised Croatian License Plates? Here are the Costs

October the 9th, 2022 - Ever thought about getting personalised Croatian license plates? HAK Revija breaks down the procedure and the associated costs depending on the vehicle in question.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the way Croatian license plates are meant to look here in Croatia isn't exactly some sort of huge question or enigma. Everyone knows what they look like, it seems at first they do, at least. However, there have actually been many disputes and controversies behind the scenes about precisely this matter, especially since the country joined the European Union back in July 2013.

Some had the need to "finish" their Croatian license plates boasting the then new EU labels, sticking small rectangular stickers on them with a blue background and the letters HR surrounded by stars.

What Croatian license plates need to actually look like for vehicles in this country is of course defined by regulation. The rulebook (pravlnik) on vehicle registration and licensing is very dry and clear, but if you do happen to be one of those individuals with a real license plate fetish of sorts, you might want to get yours personalised. For example, your child's date of birth and initials (ZG 1010 AG). Perhaps infatuation with a certain British secret agent requires the plate to have the markings ZG 007 JB. The owner of the vehicle can order their custom Croatian license plates with a predetermined registration number, provided that the requested registration number is of course available. Keep in mind that the registration number on custom-made license plates cannot contain the Croatian letters Č, Ć, Đ, Š and Ž. It's a problem if your initials have any of those letters.

Custom Croatian license plates - how much does it cost to make your wish come true nowadays? HAK Revija states that the price of license plates made individually with predetermined numerical and letter markings made to order amounts to:

1. License plates – a pair – 278.00 kuna.
2. A registration plate for a vehicle, including tractors and work machines, to which plates under serial number 1 of this item cannot be attached - one piece - 166.00 kuna
3. License plates for motorcycles and quadricycles - one piece - 166.00 kuna.

4. License plates for mopeds and light quadricycles - one piece - 166.00 kuna.
5. License plates - a replacement for a damaged one - one piece - 166.00 kuna.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Big Brother is Watching: 1700 Cameras Placed Along Croatian Roads

August the 20th, 2022 - There have been 1700 brand new cameras placed along Croatian roads, and with numerous traffic accidents occurring every year, with that number heightened during the main summer tourist season, it's worth knowing about the systems put in place along Croatian roads.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, each and every tourist season, especially during its very peak, traffic accidents occur up and down the country on Croatian roads. This isn't remotely surprising given the intensity of the traffic at that time of year, it also shouldn't come as much of a shock because of the level of fatigue and the loss of concentration of drivers who sometimes sit behind the wheel without a break for much longer than they would otherwise. Accidents often occur because drivers put everything else aside, such as rest, in order to reach their destination as soon as possible. In such unfortunate cases, instead of enjoying the summer break, they often experience a tragedy on the road.

That's why it's good to know a little more about highway traffic camera systems that help respond to crisis situations along Croatian roads. Croatian Motorways (HAC) have now initiated the implementation of a new traffic information system on their roads, as part of which more than 1,700 digital cameras will be installed for a brand new video surveillance and video detection system, writes HAK Revija.hr.

"As part of this wider project, analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations quickly and more safely, such as instances of people driving in the opposite direction, a car which had stopped, pedestrians on the road, and owing to that, there will be a faster reaction involved informing other road users about the event, the location, and the current road conditions.

Automatic incident detection (AID) alert the employees at the Traffic Monitoring and Safety Centres (CNUP), located along the entire highway network, straight away. AID triggers an audible alarm in the event of an incident, automatically shows the location of the incident to the operator and records everything. In addition to the incidents already mentioned, AID warns of traffic congestion, slow vehicles and any loss of visibility. An alarm sounds in the tunnel when a loss of camera visibility due to the appearance of smoke due to a fire is detected," Croatian Motorways explained.

As stated by Croatian Motoeways, the new Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) traffic control and management system is part of the wider Crocodile project, which was launched at the European Union level. The introduction of this system will ensure the coordinated management and the proper control of traffic and see Croatia become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European Union road routes.

What's the procedure from the moment the cameras record a crisis situation to its resolution?

"In the case of an extraordinary event, the operators at CNUP initiate the notification procedure in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure and call the emergency services (112, and if necessary, the police, emergency medical assistance, the fire department, the patrol service, the water authority inspectors, and hunting authorities). Upon the alarm being sounded because of an extraordinary event, and in accordance with its classification, an algorithm and scenario are automatically launched, which sets adequate traffic signals on light-changing signs in order to inform other road users who might encounter the event in a timely manner about it, telling them to adjust the speed of their vehicle. The public is then also informed about the state and conditions on the road through HAK and HAC's websites,'' they stated from Croatian Motorways.

Then, upon arrival at the scene of the event, the same is ensured by the patrol service with adequate temporary regulation of traffic, until the extraordinary event is declared over.

"In the case of the need to remove the vehicle, a contractual contractor will be called to come to the scene in question and take the vehicle away. In the event of the need to close a section of the nighway, a corresponding protocol will be initiated and mutual communication is carried out between the managers of public Croatian roads in order to activate the appropriate traffic boards to guide detour traffic as soon as possible and allow the same traffic to flow," they noted.

When asked how much time passes on average from the event being recorded by the cameras to the reaction of the appropriate emergency services and their arrival at the scene, they stated from HAC that upon receiving the sounded alarm, the emergency and operational services are called without delay and they arrive at the scene very quickly.

For more on driving in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Croatian Motorways Issues Advice as Another Busy Weekend is Upon Us

August the 13th, 2022 - The height of the scorching summer tourist season is now well and truly upon us, and with more and more foreign visitors entering the country either by air and then hiring cars, or by road through Croatia's many land borders, Croatian Motorways (HAC) has issued some advice to all those using the country's roads to head to their various destinations, usually on the coast.

Yet another busy summer weekend is upon us, and with an absolutely tragic accident involving a bus recently, which took the lives of several individuals, Croatian Motorways has made sure to make Croatia's road users aware of some of the realities of driving here at this wildly busy time of the year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the busy summer season here in Croatia, hundreds of thousands of vehicles enter the country, which increases the risk of accidents, some of which are fatal. The head of the Centre for the Supervision and Management of Motorway Traffic, Davor Bicanic, appealed to drivers to enable the creation of a so-called emergency corridor, as reported by HRT.

''All important information from Croatian motorways and roads, especially from critical sections, such as tunnels, arrives in real time to the control room of Croatian Motorways. We're currently implementing a traffic information system, as part of which we're replacing old analog cameras with new, more technologically advanced digital cameras, around 1,700 cameras are working at this moment in time,'' Bicanic pointed out.

"This new system has the possibility of providing automatic video detection of certain incident situations, such as people driving in the opposite direction, a pedestrian being on the motorway, a vehicle which has stopped on the road, and so on. Automatic video detection enables our operators working within the traffic control and management centres to react faster and provide the latest information to other road users who find themselves on the Croatian motorways and roads which have been affected,'' he added.

When it comes to the seemingly eternal problem of terrible accidents and some absurd moves being made by arrogantly over-confident drivers, Bicanic said that it would be nice if an emergency corridor became a routine for drivers using Croatian motorways.

"An emergency corridor enables the passage of emergency medical aid vehicles, firefighters and the police, to reach the scenes of traffic accidents as soon as possible and to provide assistance to the victims involved. The emergency corridor is formed so that vehicles in the left traffic lane move as far to the left as possible, and vehicles in the right traffic lane move as far to the right as possible. For the drivers, it's a small shift, but that shift means a corridor towards remaining alive for a critically injured person,'' stressed Bicanic.

For more on Croatian motorways and driving in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

New Croatian Road Rules in Force Today: Here's What's Changed

July the 30th, 2022 - There are some brand new Croatian road rules in force as of today, so let's take a look into what's changing.

As Index vijesti writes, new Croatian road rules are in force today following amendments to the Law on Amendments to the Law on Road Traffic Safety, which introduces significant innovations in the legal regulations in the field of road traffic safety across the country.

It regards some comprehensive changes to the umbrella legal regulation on driving in Croatia, for which detailed preliminary analyses were made in order to improve existing practices from every perspective necessary for greater safety and more practical driving conditions, and all related professions and institutions were consulted during the drafting process as were people and road users themselves, they stated from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP).

Below are some of the most important changes to the Croatian road rules

New categories of vehicles – Personal means of transport such as electric scooters, etc

For the first time ever, the participation of electric scooters, electric unicycles, segways and the like on the country's road system has been fully and legally regulated. They have been classified into a special category of vehicles, for which a common name - a personal means of transport - was introduced.

A personal means of transport is a vehicle that isn't classified in any vehicle category in accordance with special regulations. It doesn't have a seat, and the working volume of its engine isn't greater than 25 cm³, the continuous power of the electric motor isn't stronger than 0.6 kW and when on a flat road, it doesn't develop a speed greater than 25 km/h. This of course regards self-balancing vehicles, such as unicycle with motor or electric drives, scooters with motor or electric drives, etc.).

Due to this new definition of the aforementioned means of transport and the introduction of a new term for it, other provisions of the Act relating to their safe participation in traffic have also been adjusted. The new law prescribes the right and manner of using the surfaces on which they can travel and the conditions that must be met by these vehicles and their drivers when using the roads.

Additionally, drivers of these so-called ''personal vehicles'', as well as bike riders, in accordance with the new Law, may not drive their vehicle using headphones, as this would reduce their ability to react quickly and safely drive the vehicle with their full focus. In case of a violation of the prescribed obligation, a sanction is prescribed, i.e. a fine in the amount of 300 kuna.

The new Act additionally prescribes areas where the driver is obliged to adjust the speed of their vehicle. As such, there are so-called ''other surfaces'' so that these new regulations, at least in that part, would also be applicable to new categories of vehicles, i.e. to vehicles which fall into the ''personal means of transport'' category. In addition, the new Croatian road rules allow drivers (category B) to drive motorised tricycles in Croatia, but this is subject to certain conditions.

The temporary incapacity to drive and the obligation of a doctor

The amendment to Article 233 introduces an obligation for all doctors, i.e. the doctor who examined or treated the driver or the patient's chosen doctor (GP) to warn the driver of their temporary incapacity, which cannot be longer than six months. Doctors are obliged to record the given warning in the patient's medical documentation.

After the expiration of the period of the driver's temporary incapacity, the driver will not be referred for another medical examination, and misdemeanor sanctions are prescribed for doctors who fail to notify the driver of their temporary incapacity to drive and who fail to properly record this information in the patient's medical documentation.

Sanctions are also in force for drivers who drive a vehicle on the road when they have been issued a doctor's warning about a temporary health condition which stops them from doing so.

However, it's important point out that the provisions on the temporary incapacity of the driver to drive a vehicle will come into force on the day of the adoption of amendments to the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health.

A deadline has been set for the Health Minister (Vili Beros), with the prior consent of the Interior Minister (Davor Bozinovic) to harmonise the Ordinance on health examinations of drivers and candidates for drivers ("Official Gazette/Narodne Novine", no. 137/15, 132/17 and 10/20) with the provisions of this Act within 12 months from the date of entry into force of this Act.

In relation to safety and health factors, the new Croatian road rules prescribe a sanction of 300 kuna for a driver choosing to drive a vehicle without a first aid kit in it when using the road, in accordance with the rulebook (pravilnik) prescribing the technical conditions of vehicles participating in road traffic.

A corridor for the passage of emergency vehicles

Crisis situations over the last two years have shown insufficient prominence and knowledge of the necessary reactions of road users in order to allow emergency vehicles and personnel uninhibited, urgent access to incident locations as easily and quickly as possible.

Therefore, these new Croatian road rules clearly define the need for a corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles on roads with more than two traffic lanes in the event of an incident situation. This will be done in order for drivers to acquire the understanding of the need for the move, and to alter driving culture itself in the sense of there needing to be a uniform way of ensuring a safe corridor for the passage of emergency services vehicles. The corridor defined by the Law is uniform with other member states of the European Union.

An introduction of new terms and higher fines for speeding

New terms as part of new Croatian road rules have also been defined, such as "traffic zone in a protected cultural-historical entity'', ''contact zone", "assistive pedestrian means", "rider" and "automated vehicle".

For the first time, the participation of ''riders'' in road traffic has been regulated, and a new term has been introduced that describes a fully automated vehicle, i.e. a vehicle that can move along the road without the presence of a driver (a fully automated vehicle without a steering wheel).

In this regard, a sanction has also been prescribed for drivers who use vehicles with built-in driver assistance systems (partially automated vehicles) in such a way that the vehicle steers independently, and at the same time, i.e. while driving, the drivers don't even sit in the driver's seat, which means that they aren't in the proper ''form'' to react quickly in unexpected situations or unforeseen circumstances.

In addition, these new Croatian road laws regulate the ban on parking vehicles in places intended only for the charging of electric vehicles and enable the sanctioning of negligent drivers, as well as the relocation of vehicles that don't use charging services and are parked in places intended only for charging electric vehicles.

In accordance with the examples from practice, the obligation to submit credible data about the person who was driving the vehicle at the requested time has also been changed or expanded.

Namely, according to the new Croatian road rules, the user of a vehicle is required to provide reliable information about the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offense at the request of a police officer or an official from a local self-government unit. Since the current amount of the fine seems to have failed to deter drivers from committing violations, the new Croatian road rules have seen an increase in the amount of the fine issued for speed violations (which is most often imposed in the event of a traffic accident) from 500 kuna to 1,000 kuna.

Other important changes

The latest amendments to the Law also clarify the provisions of the article of the Act that refer to the responsibilities of a person who has access to dual controls of a vehicle during a driving test. In addition, license plates with red and green numbers and letters have been abolished.

It has been made much easier for both legal or natural persons to carry out the work they are engaged in (the production, upgrading, servicing, transport or retail sale of vehicles), i.e. the use of portable/removable license plates is now permitted for the purposes of transporting vehicles to their place of technical inspection and vehicle registration, for which until now, the use of test license plates was prescribed.

Persons who have completed at least an undergraduate university study or an undergraduate professional study, lasting three years in the traffic department (urban), are now allowed to perform the work of vehicle technical inspection supervisor and the work of vehicle testing and documentation processing, considering the compatibility of the education programme for the mentioned professions.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Average Vehicle Age in Croatia at Nearly 15 Years

ZAGREB, 17 July 2022 - The average age of vehicles in Croatia in the first half of 2022 was 14.74 years, and nearly 70% of the vehicles were 10 or more years old, the Croatian Centre for Vehicles reported earlier this week.

In the first six months of this year, there were 1,244,465 registered vehicles in Croatia.

As many as 68.14% of them were 10 or more years old, while 14.73% were between six and nine years old and 12.79% were between two and five years old.

Only 4.33% were up to one year old.

By comparison, the average vehicle age was 14.18 years in 2020 and 14.34 years in 2021.

"Although we hope that this number will fall by the end of the year, the increasing average age of vehicles in Croatia shows the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and technical inspection," said Tomislav Škreblin from the Centre for Vehicles.

Most of the newly-registered vehicles were passenger cars -- 54,429, of which 23,777 were new and 30,652 were used vehicles. 50% of them were powered by diesel and 35% by petrol, while 9.9% were hybrid vehicles.

Only 2.35% were fuelled by petrol and LPG, 1.32% were electric vehicles, 1.11% were hybrid vehicles with external charging, 0.02% were fuelled by petrol and natural gas, and 0.0018% only by natural gas.

Utility vehicles predominantly used diesel fuel as well.

There was a considerable increase in the number of new hybrid passenger cars, accounting for around 21% of the newly-registered vehicles in the first half of 2022. On the other hand, used hybrid passenger cars accounted for only 2.4% of the newly-registered vehicles.

A total of 5,419 hybrid vehicles, 605 hybrid vehicles with external charges and 721 electric vehicles were registered in the first half of the year.

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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Digital Supercameras, New Video Surveillance Coming to Croatian Roads

May the 26th, 2022 - A large number of brand new supercameras and an entirely new and modern system are set to be installed along Croatian roads as part of an EU project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the modernisation of the entire system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be introduced on Croatian, which will involve 1,727 brand new digital supercameras.

“Like any new system before it's commissioned, this one must pass a test phase and the validation process in order to make sure that it will react in a timely manner in real conditions. Given that the system is in a phase when it isn't possible to postpone implementation and testing, this is the only possible time period before the main tourist season when it can be implemented, and so that everything is ready by the end of 2022,'' a Croatian roads (HAC) statement said.

The closure of individual sections of motorways

During the implementation and testing of this new equipment, in order to preserve traffic safety and road users, there will be frequent closures of certain sections of the A1 motorway for all traffic. That traffic will be diverted to bypass routes during the closure, HAC said.

Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro)

The new traffic control and management system Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) is part of the Crocodile project launched at the European Union (EU) level, writes HAC.

“The introduction of this system on Croatian roads will ensure coordinated traffic management and control, making the country become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European roads. The new system will make it much easier for users to plan their travel and get information. The project is being co-financed by the European Union,'' they added.

What will the new cameras on Croatian roads be able to do?

“Along with the implementation of the new traffic information system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be installed, which will significantly raise the level of road safety.

Analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations faster and more safely (such as when people are driving in the opposite direction, when there's a stopped vehicle, when there's a pedestrian on the road, etc.), and will as such provide a faster reaction in order to inform users about the event,'' concluded HAC.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Good News for Drivers: No Croatian Road Toll Increase This Summer

May the 21st, 2022 - Good news for drivers from both home and abroad this summer as Croatian road toll fees aren't set to increase. There will also be an innovative new way of paying which hopes to streamline the process.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to a report from Net.hr, this year, just like the previous two pandemic-dominated years, in order to support the tourist season, the seasonal Croatian road toll increase of 10 percent will not be introduced.

The move comes as welcome news as we approach summer and as the cost to drive continues to be an issue for road users, with inflation continuing to force fuel prices up and making a full tank an expensive commodity.

"The measure of assistance to bus carriers also remains in force, meaning the application of the additional discount of seven percent for EURO 6 vehicles is being extended, which with the existing discount of 42.4 percent, amounts to almost 50 percent of the Croatian road toll price," they explained from HAC when dicussing this summer's plans for the country's motorways.

Hrvatske autoceste (Croatian roads) confirmed that activities are underway to prepare the public procurement of a new toll collection system to make things easier, as well.

"A tender will be announced at some point this year, and according to current estimates, the system could be completed by the year 2024," they stated from HAC.

The new toll collection system will be based on ''free flow'', without stopping any of the vehicles using the roads, and will be carried out with contactless payment methods. The system will enable a simpler and more technologically modern way of paying Croatian road toll fees, and will also increase the flow of traffic at toll stations so as not to cause traffic jams, bottlenecks or delays.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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