The tasks of the road traffic authorities include in particular
- traffic regulation through signage,
- the safety of school routes,
- the permission of events in the road space
- the granting of parking facilities for handicapped persons,
- the permission of special transports
- the granting of exceptions to the Sunday and holiday driving ban,
- conducting traffic inspections, and
- traffic safety work in the local accident commissions.
In principle, the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) with general and special rules of conduct prescribe how road users must behave in road traffic (e.g. the requirement to exercise caution and consideration).
Where this is not sufficient to ensure the safety and ease of traffic, the road traffic authorities can order the erection of traffic signs (such as danger signs, regulation signs or information signs), traffic facilities (such as traffic lights, barriers or guidance devices) and markings (such as crosswalks, guidelines, lane demarcation lines or stop lines). The regulations hereby ordered shall take precedence over the general traffic regulations.
Signage may, however, only be ordered by the road traffic authorities where this is imperative due to the particular circumstances. In particular, restrictions and prohibitions of flowing traffic may generally only be ordered if, due to the special local conditions, a hazardous situation exists that considerably exceeds the general risk of an impairment of the safety or order of traffic.
Whether and which traffic regulation is necessary in a specific case is decided ex officio by the responsible road traffic authority in knowledge of the special local and traffic circumstances. In order to assess the local circumstances, the road traffic authority always consults the road construction authority and the police. Decisions are at the discretion of the responsible road traffic authority. All interests, i.e. not only the traffic significance of the road, but also those of road users, residents or commercial enterprises, must be taken into account and weighed up. The principle of proportionality must be observed.
Although the tasks of the road traffic authorities are fundamentally aimed at protecting the general public and not the interests of individuals, you as a road user or resident can also question existing signage or suggest the installation of new signage. You do not have a legal right to a certain signage. However, you can demand that the road traffic authorities exercise their discretion in accordance with their duties if you are affected as a road user or as a resident. Qualified" interests include, in particular, an impairment of personal freedom of action, an impairment of the freedom to exercise a profession, and interference with the right of the landowner or the owner of an established and practiced business to use the property.
Information can be obtained from the road traffic authorities at the district offices, independent cities and municipalities.
In the case of federal highways for which the federal government is responsible, the federal administration, predominantly Autobahn GmbH des Bundes, and in some cases also the Federal Highway Authority, is responsible for the traffic authorities.