Sunday, July 24, 2016

German Driving Schools Decreasing

Today in the German news, it got brought up that driving schools in Germany are on the downward trend....with around 700,000 driving schools existing around all of Germany.  If you went back a decade ago....it was near almost a million such schools around Germany.

It's one of the aspects of German culture that most Americans don't come into contact with.  If you come to Germany within the military.....you get a day-long orientation class, and a handbook....then a couple of days later, a test (two-parter).  If you pass....you get a military license to drive in Germany and Europe.   So most of us never had to deal with the German driving schools.

In my former village around K-town, we had one single driving school in the village....run by a guy in his fifties.  You can figure that every kid that came in....had to pay in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 Euro.....and some even more if they missed some understanding of the rules.

There would be a couple of evening classes....a handbook....and then a dozen-odd hours of driving (in urban areas and the autobahn).  After that, you take the test, and if you pass....you are fixed up for the rest of your life.

What is generally said about the decreasing number is that rural communities are seeing fewer and fewer teens....so the business model that you had for seventy-odd years in Germany is rapidly changing.  Schools in urban areas are generally still surviving.

2 comments:

Troy Swezey said...

Is it still required for everyone to take a course / test? Surely these courses are available on line?
This is a good thing to do. I recall having to take driving classes through my high school which consisted of classroom and hands on, but this was 30 years ago. Not sure what they do now.
I believe every one should be made to take a hands on test every 2-3 years. Basically, I think this is mostly necessary for the older people as their skills deteriorate with age in many, but not all, cases. Of course we can not discriminate so... And besides, there are many people who 'forget' rules or get lazy or sloppy. I believe this idea, along with making it harder / more expensive / taken more seriously to get a license in the first place would make the streets safer.
Oh yeah, but what about the immigrants? Ugh...

R Hammond said...

I doubt if the German driver-instructor crowd will ever allow this online course/test thing to occur. This issue with the immigrants has brought up several problems. It's been a slow process getting these visa-approved people to the stage where they can even afford a car (unless you've got a degree, you probably aren't going to make enough in the first year, to afford a car....hence the reason why they all live in urbanized areas with public trans).

There are some countries where you can walk in and get a license based on your home-countries relationship with Germany. But some of these Middle Eastern countries didn't have this kind of deal set up....so these immigrants are pushed toward the driving class, and the 1,500 Euro cost factor. No one has done statistics collection, but I would take a guess that out of every hundred immigrants that came into Germany in 2014/2015...probably less than five have a German license today. Course, if you can't afford a car....why bother getting a license?

I had a conversation with one Syrian around two years ago, and one of the ten most fearful things about the new country (Germany) was autobahn traffic/speed/stress. He saw the traffic around Wiesbaden region (I rate it mild) as being like some Grand Prix racecourse.