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Nearly a third of Germans fail their driving test
Photo: DPA

Nearly a third of Germans fail their driving test

Published: 22 Jan 2013 11:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Jan 2013 11:18 GMT+01:00

A European motoring club says greed has led to the situation where around a third of those who take the German driving test fail and must take extra lessons before trying again.

The Autoclub Europa (ACE) said it had obtained figures which showed that in 2011, 28 percent of those who took the German driving test failed and had to do it again.

A failure rate of around 30 percent is not a sign of a well-qualified training system, the ACE said, presenting its figures ahead of its annual meeting in Goslar, Lower Saxony. Around 1,900 traffic experts are expected at the three-day meeting where the driving test and driving training will be a central theme.

ACE spokesman Rainer Hillgärtner, said the numbers gave rise to the suspicion of a connection between the high failure rate and the bad financial situation which many driving schools were in - due to demographic developments which means there are fewer young people needing to learn to drive.

"They speculate on a high failure rate in order to be able to book in and charge for additional driving lessons," he said.

There are also significant regional differences in the failure rate, according to the study, which was based on government figures.

The lowest failure rate was in Hesse, where just 22.14 percent of new drivers had to take a second or third test. Next came Lower Saxony with 24.87 percent, and Schleswig-Holstein with 25.13 percent.

The worst was Saxony-Anhalt where nearly 38 percent of those taking their tests failed. But Thuringia and Saxony were not far behind, with 36 percent of would-be drivers failing their first test.

Many foreigners living in Germany can simply swap their domestic license for a German one after residency has been established, but in some cases they will have to go through the entire procedure of preparing for, and taking a German test.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:47 January 22, 2013 by pepsionice
For those concerned about this driving test....as an American.....I can say that the sign test (with it's time limit) is the roughest part of the exam. Germans are fairly particular about warning people with signs and there are at least 120 signs of significance that you have to immediately recognize. Beyond that....just knowing the simple rule of 'right-of-way' is the only hard part of the written test.
11:58 January 22, 2013 by yllusion
This driving school "mafia" isn't surprising. Germany isn't the only country where these companies abuse the system to "extort" more money from the students.
12:20 January 22, 2013 by twisted
My mother taught me to drive (after having two years experience on a motor scooter with a license at 14) and while others might not agree, I don't think a driving school makes a driver any better or safety that good instruction from a parent or a responsible adult. Drive schools in Germany are simply a means of making money for a business and encouraged by the government.
13:24 January 22, 2013 by raandy
Agree that driving schools are a business not an education facility.

After I had been here for a year , I went to the amt and wanted to exchange my USA for a German, she asked me where do you come from, I said USA, ya,ya she replied but which State, I told her she looked in her book and said you must take a driving course and a first aid course, I asked why,, she said my State had no contract with Germany. I went back home checked all out on the net and found that the State next to mine did have a contract with Germany. On my next visit back I drove there and told them I had moved into a rental and wanted to exchange my licence, was not a problem, When I returned to Germany I went back to the amt, showed them my new licence and 6 weeks and some money later received my German licence but had to take it to a place where they laminate it , they wanted my USA, I protested that it was like their ID card but to no avail.

On my next trip back went to licence bureau and got my original back.
14:44 January 22, 2013 by Zubair Khan
Low IQ ! Why not accept the hard fact
14:58 January 22, 2013 by SchwabHallRocks
It's a wonder Germany did not fall to pieces (mentally) when there were over a million Americans, Brits, Canadians (and probably even a few poor Russians) driving around during the "Cold War" on "German" licenses that were granted if you had a license from your own country.

Raandy - what www site did you use to see if your state has an agreement with FRG? I am not finding it?
15:38 January 22, 2013 by Staticjumper
One of the things I miss most about Germany since moving back to the US is the driving/drivers. I wish that Illinois had this rate of driving test failures. I estimate that 28% of drivers here can't tell their left from their right or slower from faster or even know if their car is equipped with turn signals.
16:05 January 22, 2013 by raandy
SchwabHallRocks try this one……...http://www.german-way.com/germany-drivers-license-reciprocity.html.
17:07 January 22, 2013 by SchwabHallRocks
Raandy - that is quite the www site.

I (and presumably Staticjumper above) am ecstatic to know I can just swap our Illinois licenses for German.
17:46 January 22, 2013 by raandy
Nice when it works out like that :-)
19:27 January 22, 2013 by LandSwitcher
I am German and have just moved to North America last year: I have to say that the German driving licensing system is one of the toughest worldwide to master. However, this ensures that everyone released to public roads is also entitled to do so. Hence the drivers are less likely to be incompetence.
20:55 January 22, 2013 by Anny One again
Landswitcher

But Americans are the better one hand driver :)
21:15 January 22, 2013 by hech54
The German licensing system is a HUGE racket. Luckily I come from a state in the US which has an equal exchange agreement....and the woman at the town hall was NOT AT ALL HAPPY that I did not need to take the test. I loved it....:):):)
04:50 January 23, 2013 by Twin B
After another humbling experience yesterday with a german Über driver, I can safely say that more Germans would fail their driving tests if common courtesy (in this case, stopping to let old ladies cross the street - to get to a funeral, no less!) and parking lot safety were required;P And yes, I know he was German because I got out at the next stop light to ask him why he didn't just beep his horn instead of blowing past and almost causing three more funerals.
08:37 January 23, 2013 by nightynight
Who are the examiners? In the UK, they are former driving instructors mostly. The rules say that you are allowed to take the test in any vehicle, but I don't personally know anyone who has passed when not with a driving school...
10:26 January 23, 2013 by mobaisch
many instructors agree with examiners to fail some students if they feel that that specific student has money and could be some extra of him possible. LIVE AND REAL EXAMPLES EXIST.
12:55 January 23, 2013 by raandy
Anny One up again... your correct, that is why most Americans have automatic transmissions, so you can hold a beer and a J while cursing the back roads of America. ;-)
22:09 January 24, 2013 by JenDigs
raandy- Was that a typo, or wit (cursing the back roads vs. cruising...?) :-)

My state did not have an agreement with my German state, so I had to take the written test, the practical test and the first aid course. It was a pain in the @$$, but I am actually glad I had to do it all because I am the only one of my international friends who seems to know the rules of the road here!! I've even had to teach some rules to my German friends!! (Nothing quite like having a discussion about a road rule and telling a German they have it wrong and watching them nearly combust... later when they've had time to research it, they always have the good grace to admit they were incorrect and marvel at how an American could possibly know the rules...) I can't tell you how many times I've screamed "Right-hand-right-of-way" while riding in a friend's car...
09:14 January 27, 2013 by coffeelover
In rural U.S. you can take written test and if you pass, you take a short driving test with any vehicle including a farm tractor, and if you pass, you can obtain a farming license that allows you to operate ANY vehicle including large straight truck at the age of 14. However, this license is only good for 4 years, at which time you must obtain regular operators license, or CDL if you wish to drive that truck. And any vehicle you drive during that time has to be a registered farm vehicle, which can be cars, up to semi-trailors, and of course, any ag tractor or ag vehicle. All this extra experience driving at young age allows for easy passing of adult test.
02:55 January 29, 2013 by goodhund
Agree that driving schools are a business not an education facility.

So where are nothing associated in educational objective in driving schools. Everything is only and only for: money, money, money and money. The more examinees fail the more money you can ask. That's all.
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