Author: | Category: Transport |

The small sticker called vignette is a form of tax on vehicles, used in several non-English speaking European countries for passing through motorways and expressways. Affixed on a vehicle, it indicates that the respective road tax has been paid. A vignette is usually valid for one year. To ensure that it will not be used for more than one vehicle, it constructed in such a way that detaching and reattaching it is impossible without destruction.

Road charging schemes in form of vignettes are already in place in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland, while other types of road toll are being imposed on drivers in several other European countries. Because of the limitation up to 3.5 tons maximum permissible gross weight, a vignette is rather meant for passenger cars or motorcycles. Its equivalent for lorries of minimum 12 tons is called Eurovignette. Eurovignettes were adopted in 1999 and are now being used in Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Sweden.

In May 2011, the EU adopted the revision of the so-called Eurovignette directive, which sets rules for Member States that wish to introduce road charging schemes for trucks. The new version of the directive also enables charges for the ‘external’ costs of air pollution and noise to be integrated into road charges. However, charging for the costs of climate change, congestion and accidents caused by lorries is still prohibited under the new law.