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This isn't something I've seen mentioned before, but another thread reminded me that I wanted to ask about it. ED cars are issued German export tourist plates (which I'm sure we've all seen in the ED photos here) with the red date stamp on the right side of the plate (differentiating it from the regular EU plate with the blue country designation on the left).

During our ED, outside the Welt we never saw another tourist plate at all. We were also stopped twice (once just after the exit toll leaving the Autostrada in Italy the police were watching cars come out of the toll gates and gestured us over and once crossing from Austria into Germany a BMW passed us and pulled in front so we could see the "POLIZEI FOLGEN" flashing in their rear window). In both cases, the papers were all in order so there was no problem.

Has anyone here seen another export plate during their ED (outside the immediate vicinity of the Welt of course)?

And how often have people gotten paper-checked?

Just curious.
 

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I saw 2, one at the Marriott Airport in Munich and another one at Durnstein in Austria. And no, I was never stopped in Germany, Austria or Italy. Saw several police cars very near me too.
 

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I didn't look for them, and was never asked a question other than by the Ring officials who thought at first it was a rental plate as I was heading onto the track.
 

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resU deretsigeR
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Has anyone here seen another export plate during their ED
Amsterdam in 2007. I've got a photo of it parked next to our X3.

Just recently saw a German Export plates on a Smart car. We see German plates here occasionally, mostly during tourist season. Export plates on a Smart Car off season? That was bizarre.
 

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Travel Fever
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I have done 2 EDs. I have seen quite a few Zoll plates. I have not been asked for paperwork at all. Thank God!!!!
 

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I always see a lot at the drop off locations for some reason.
 

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when we went in early march we were stopped in Austria entering from Germany and from France into Switzerland. it was all ok though.
 

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I have seen them on business trips to Germany, but didn't see any during our ED.
 

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Using SPF 45
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when we went in early march we were stopped in Austria entering from Germany and from France into Switzerland. it was all ok though.
When I did ED 20+ years ago we had a rather extended discussion with the East German border guards on our way to Berlin. Good times!
 

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Liverpudlian at heart
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Has anyone here seen another export plate during their ED (outside the immediate vicinity of the Welt of course)?

And how often have people gotten paper-checked?

Just curious.
I go to Europe fairly often, 2-3 times a year. I've had a penchant for license plates since I was a kid 'collecting' them when foreign plates were rare in the UK. I still habitually look at them.

When I am in France/Germany/Austria/Italy I invariably see at least one Zoll plate on either an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes during a trip. I do tend to be within typical ED destination areas though. My passenger usually gets startled awake when I suddenly spring alert with an 'ooh oooh oooh' and I have to apologize, and since of course I see most plates when they are passing in the opposite direction I then have to launch into the unconvincing explanation of what the 'panic' was with no evidence in sight.

On my ED in 2009 I was stopped twice in 6 weeks of driving. Once in Slovakia when I was challenged for all my paperwork as part of a stop because I was driving without the required daylight running lights, but that went very nicely and I was waved on my way without a fine and with a parting salute. Can't imagine that happening in Arizona.

The second time was in Italy as I was causing a kerfuffle getting out of a long-stay parking lot at Pisa airport (after a mid-ED break back to the UK for family/laundry/luggage substitution). The barrier was not accepting my paid-for ticket and the local foot police came over to see what the honking of horns and general Italian enthusiasm for encouraging a foreigner was all about. They decided to give me the complete document run through, including a request for my International Driving Permit even though it wasn't strictly required in Italy. I'm pretty sure the Zoll plates contributed to a more detailed inspection of papers.

Away from ED I was challenged twice for a Swiss vignette when I was living in Germany 1996-98. I had mine but a drooping ski bag on a roof rack was obscuring it in the upper corner of the screen. (The following year I put it behind the rear-view mirror, and was pulled over again because the police saw my expired vignette in the corner and not the current one near the mirror). I was also given the work-over for a inexactly placed Austrian vignette in 2010 when I was driving a rental.

I had a very interesting conversation with the British police in 1997 when I drove my German car to the UK for Christmas. I was pulling into a parking garage in Liverpool and had to hop out to run around to the other side to press the 'issue ticket' button. I called an apology to the motorist behind which was heard by a rare beat officer nearby. He wanted to know the story behind a German registered car being driven by an obviously Liverpudlian driver, and then got unnecessarily suspicious when I had a German driving license and to him unintelligible insurance documentation. My story seemed perfectly reasonable to me (I lived in Germany, after all, and my docs showed my photograph and a consistent German address) but he was determined to find the secret criminal car running operation I was masterminding.

I think the authorities notice foreign or otherwise unusual vehicles and choose to check up on them slightly more than they would with a local vehicle. It is after all easier to notice a foreign license tag and then pay attention to whether the vignette is in place than to notice the vignette on its own as a car hurtles past.

Given that increased incidence of being paid attention to it is well worth while making sure you have all the paperwork and permissions you need. It is after all the right and courteous thing to be doing anyway.

Frank.
 

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HerrDoktorProfessor
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Anyone know if cars with these plates are more likely to be targeted by thieves?

In the US rental car plates are like chum in the water for thieves.
 

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Liverpudlian at heart
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Anyone know if cars with these plates are more likely to be targeted by thieves?

In the US rental car plates are like chum in the water for thieves.
There are a number of factors at play here and how they balance is more opinion than reported fact.

I'm not so sure myself that US rentals would be more likely to be targeted. Possibly they would be seen to more likely contain valuables (luggage) but that is more accessible elsewhere (the airport, particularly at PHX). They are just as easy to steal as a non-rental identical model but rentals - at least from the major agencies - are more likely or even certain to be lo-jacked. I do remember news stories years ago that rental cars were being targeted by hijackers and modern-day highwaymen since tourists were more likely to be carrying valuables and less likely to have weapons to defend themselves.

As for a Zoll-plated car, I suppose it is theoretically attractive because of the guaranteed newness, locally inexperienced driver, likelihood of containing valuables, and of course it is usually a premium brand. (Non-premium brands are also sold on Zoll plates to overseas purchasers and can occasionally be seen on the roads at the EU margins). Against that the criminal would have to factor the increased likelihood of being swiftly reported and being easier to spot on the road, plus the general background attention those cars receive from all parties including the public and authorities. Also, I think an ED tourist is much more cautious and aware of the possibility of theft than the local population going about their daily business.

On balance, if two otherwise identical cars were equally accessible to a thief I think they would pick the Zoll-plated car more often than not for break-ins, and there is probably a higher incidence of finding a 2nd car key in a Zoll-plated car than any other car. (Despite the insurance requirements NOT to do such a thing). That may factor in to why the police have a higher incidence of stopping such cars: there is a marginally higher probability of finding something amiss. However, I think the increased incidence of police attention is consistent with the higher incidence of attention to any foreign car rather than a Zoll-plated car.

Frank.
 

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HerrDoktorProfessor
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Thanks frank. I guess I was thinking more of break-ins by petty thieves than full on car theft. I've traveled a good amount in Europe and know that serious crime is rarely a problem but that in some places petty crime like pick pockets etc are endemic.
 

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While on our trip in October, we saw several red plates. A few were parked at Neuschwanstein. While getting out of the car to take turns driving with my wife, another red-plate ED driver went by us (between Garmisch and Salzburg) and honked and waved from his BMW. It was fun to see the plates, and realize that others were doing the same thing we were.
 

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Piacere di guidare
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I've seen plenty, but clearly it depends to some extent on how touristy an area you're frequenting on your trip. We met another family (from the Fest, no less) in a parking area for Villa dal Balbianello on Lake Como on our last trip, simply by us simultaneously spotting each other's Zoll tag. And there was a guy doing his ED trip who was staying at the same tiny hotel as us on the Konigsee near Berchtesgaden our last night in-country. We also arranged a meet-up with skywalkerbeth a few days after our deliveries, so maybe that one doesn't count as a sighting.

On the other hand, if you're ensconced in a little Agritourismo out in the middle of Italian farm country, you're not likely to bump into somebody else.

We got stopped by the German highway cops near Garmisch on '08 and by the Italian cops near Lago di Como in '04 - both times for a document check triggered by the Zoll plates. Being so near Munich, the check by the German cops was over in a jiffy - but I was disappointed they didn't ask to see the warning vests and that we forgot to haul them out and display them on our own. The Italian experience took a bit longer, of course. Lots of shuffling of papers, hushed conversations between the two officers since I speak Italian, etc. etc. And once again, typically Italian, one guy loses interest, leaving the other guy to either push it on his own or join in the feigned indifference. And naturally, the indifference always holds sway. We were on our way, but with a nice departing salute.

To the best of my recollection, I can only think of two reports of theft here on the ED forum in the past four years. Of those, one was theft of wheels and tires (yes, all four) from a car parked in a remote section of a hotel parking lot, in France, if memory serves. The other was I think an attempted purse-grab when the Festers opened the car door after parking, possibly in Naples. That one was more likely attributable to the Zoll plates. Assuming you don't leave desirable stuff out in plain sight inside your parked car, you're at far greater risk riding the Paris Metro or strolling through the Tuileries: pickpockets and scam artists abound. For my part, risk of trouble depends a lot more on where you go and how you act than what sort of license plate is on your car.
 

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Travel Fever
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As far as inspection by the border guards, I was in and out between Germany and Austria when I drove on the small roads. There was no border guard and I was there during the weekend, I am not sure if they didn't put guards on duty during the weekend.

The second time around, I was on a big box highway from Germany to Austria, so no border guards nor inspection areas. Same going from Austria into Italy. Same from Italy to France. When I head back to Milan from Provence, I used the small road again. I think there was one guard at best.... When I left Milan to Zurich, I left the highway one exit before border crossing because of long long lines. The crossing I used did attract the guard attentions. They stared and didn't stop me.
 

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While on our trip in October, we saw several red plates. A few were parked at Neuschwanstein. While getting out of the car to take turns driving with my wife, another red-plate ED driver went by us (between Garmisch and Salzburg) and honked and waved from his BMW. It was fun to see the plates, and realize that others were doing the same thing we were.
Ditto for me around Fussen and the typical hot spots for ED'ers.
 
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