The German parliament’s upper house, the Bundesrat, introduced the new law to ‘ensure a driver’s identity can be determined’ if they’re caught speeding. Anyone found with a facial covering, including carnival masks and face-obscuring hoods, will be fined €60 (£52). But many people are interpreting this measure as being a ban on burqas and niqabs. At the moment, the law allows head coverings such as headscarves to be worn by Muslim women when driving.
Nurhan Soykan, of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, told Deutsche Welle: "Proof of this is the fact that laws are being passed in areas that don’t need to be regulated. We know of no case in which a burqa or niqab wearer caused an accident that can be linked to wearing a full-body veil."
The Transportation Ministry declined to comment on whether the legislation essentially meant a "burka ban" but said: "The rule of law requires that only drivers can be held accountable. That presumes that they can be identified."
While German chancellor Angela Merkel has openly announced her support of banning full-face veils in the country "wherever it is legally possible". In Bavaria, the full-face veil is already banned in schools, universities, polling stations and government offices. The new facial ban was brought in with a number of other traffic laws, including fines for drivers who look at their mobile phones instead of the road.