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Driving instruction in Germany

By: Deutsche Fahrlehrer-Akademie E.V.

Date: Sunday, 13. August 2006

Driving instruction in Germany has gone through a process of constant improvement over a period of many decades, as can be seen from a few important milestones:

Compulsory driving licences were introduced throughout the German Reich by the Law on Motor Vehicle Traffic of May 3, 1909 and the Ordinance on Motor Vehicle Traffic of Feb. 3, 1910.

An Ordinance on the Training of Motor Vehicle Drivers passed on Mar. 1, 1921 provided the basis for the creation of the profession of "Driving Instructor", compulsory licensing of instructors and driving schools, and detailed requirements regarding the instruction given to learner drivers.

In 1957, the requirements concerning driving instructors, driving schools and the equipping of driving schools were redefined in an Ordinance on Driving Instructors for Motor Vehicle Traffic of July 23. On Aug. 25, 1969, the Law on driving Instruction for the first time regulated the professional and specialists skills required of the owners of driving schools and driving instructors themselves.

Three more ordinances served to further improve the situation: the Ordinance on the Instruction of Learner Drivers of May 31, 1976 covered theoretical and practical instruction of learner drivers, the Ordinance on the Training of Driving Instructors of May 13, 1977 laid down the nature and contents of driving instructor training, and the Ordinance on the Examination of driving Instructors of July 27, 1979 covered the testing of driving instructors.

Finally, on May 13, 1986, the probationary driving licence was introduced, the retraining of vehicle drivers who have infringed traffic regulations during the probationary period was put in the hands of licensed driving instructors, and driving instruction by lay persons was prohibited.

Basic requirements for instructors

The central figure in professional driving instruction in Germany is, of course, the driving instructor. For this reason, all those wishing to become instructors have to fulfill certain basic requirements: they must be at least 23 years of age, be suited to the profession intellectually, physically and in terms of personality, have undergone basic secondary school education followed by vocational training in a recognized subject, be in possession of a driving licence for all classes of vehicle, and have sufficient experience driving vehicles in the class for which they wish to become instructors.

Training must take place in an officially recognized training establishment for driving instructors. Candidates must demonstrate their subject expertise by taking an examination. Training last between five (minimum) and eight (maximum) months, irrespective of the class of vehicle for which the trainee wishes to become an instructor. The entire training must consists of whole-day uninterrupted courses of instruction.

The content of the training is laid down in the curriculum, which describes the subject areas and number of hours instruction required. A minimum of 700 hours' instruction are required for Class 3 (BE) at least 280 for Class 2 (CE) and at least 140 for Class 1 (A). The following subject areas are covered: principles of pedagogy and psychology; traffic regulations and hazards on the road; legal aspects; motor vehicles technology; environmental protection, energy-saving driving techniques; lesson-planning; teaching practice; safe and skillful driving techniques; legal aspects of the profession.

Testing of instructors

When training has been completed, trainee instructors are tested by state examination boards. The tests are divided into written, oral and practical sections, and a practical test of the trainee's classroom and on-road teaching skills.

The written examination involves the candidates solving problems related to traffic law and motor vehicle technology. The oral examination tests subject knowledge. The practical part tests the candidates' ability to drive a vehicles safely and skillfully in road traffic. The practical teaching test requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to teach in the classroom, and in the on-road test they demonstrate their ability to instruct learner drivers in road traffic.

Candidates who are successful in the examination and meet the other requirements receive licences as driving instructors.

Those wishing to acquire an additional qualification as instructors for probationary drivers referred back for further training have to pass a special training course, be in possession of driving instructor licences for classes 1 (A) and 3 (BE), and have the necessary instructing experience.

Further training plays an important role: it is obligatory for those responsible for retraining probationary drivers and voluntary for normal instructors. Annual participation in further training courses can, however, exempt individual instructors from inspection within the framework of the provisions for inspection of driving schools.

It is planned that in the future the training of driving instructors will be given an even stronger practical slant. At the same time, the pedagogical content will be increased, the examination system simplified and further training will become compulsory for all instructors.

Learner drivers

Learner drivers in Germany receive instruction on the basis of the Ordinance on the Instruction of Learner Drivers of May 31, 1976, which is continually updated.

This starts by describing the objectives, contents, extent and nature of driving instruction, and then lays down basic principles relating to it. Central importance is given to the organization of the theoretical and practical aspects of instruction. The driving instructor is permitted to terminate the process of instruction only when he is certain that the leaner driver involved has actually acquired the necessary knowledge and skills.

The objectives and contents of instruction consists of the learner learning to drive a motor vehicle safely and defensively with due consideration for other road users and displaying an awareness of his responsibility towards his fellow human beings and the environment. The extent and nature of instruction are designed to differentiate between theoretical and practical instruction but to ensure that the two are appropriately related to each other within the process.

The general principles laid down for the process of instruction are that it should move "from the known to the unknown" and "from the straightforward to the difficult." The value of stimulating the direct participation of the learners through questions and discussion is stressed. Driving schools are encouraged to move away from the traditional "chalk and talk" approach towards more modern methods of teaching (e.g. group discussions).

Theoretical instruction

The following areas are covered by the theoretical teaching:

  1. Regulations related to licensing of individuals and vehicles for road traffic.
  2. Regulations relating to behavior in road traffic and the operation of motor vehicles; environmental protection.

In addition to this, the question of hazards on the road is extensively covered. The topic is divided into traffic observation and behavior, considerate behavior, accident risks through incapability to drive (including fatigue, alcohol); driving techniques, brakes and their function, tires. In addition to the above, there are specific contents related to the individual classes of licence.

A program of instruction divided into double teaching periods (90 minutes) must be drawn up as a basis for instruction and this may not exceed two double periods per day.

The filling in of practice multiple-choice tests does not qualify as instruction and may not be counted towards fulfillment of the minimum period of instruction, even though it is by no means "forbidden" and indeed may well be useful with regard to the multiple-choice type test eventually to be taken by learners.

The minimum number of hours instruction for theoretical instruction are laid down-for example 12 double periods for Class 3 (B).

Practical instruction

Practical instruction consists of basic instruction, extended driving sessions, advanced exercises and test preparation. The basic instruction constitutes the largest element in the practical instruction.

The location and timing of this part of the training is largely up to the individual instructor, but it is usually carried out on private or little-frequented roads. Although there are no specific time requirements, the extended driving sessions may only be carried out towards the end of the practical instruction.

These extended driving sessions are an important addition to the initial practical instruction and serve to familiarize the learner with the specific problems of driving outside built-up areas.

Minimum durations are laid down for these, and are specified as follows: at least 225 minutes must be spent driving on trunk roads or country roads with a distance of at least 50 km being travelled in any one session; at least 135 minutes just be spent driving on motorways or dual carriageways with each journey lasting at least 45 minutes; and a minimum of 90 minutes should be reserved for driving in twilight or darkness, half of this on trunk roads or country roads.

Further exercises

These extended driving sessions are followed by the so-called advanced, test-preparation phase, containing further exercises and preparation for the test itself. In all cases, the instructor may only terminate instruction when he is convinced that the learner driver involved has actually acquired the knowledge and skills required to pass the test.

The goal of driving instruction is no longer just to impart knowledge and techniques, but also to put across the social and ethical values, in other words to inculcate behavioral patterns and attitudes which are no less significant in reducing accident risks than the actual driving skills themselves.

During the process of instruction, the learner driver is made aware that he carries a high degree of responsibility towards his fellow human beings and his environment.

The success of driving instruction in Germany can be seen particularly in the declining number of fatal accidents - despite a continued increase in traffic volume. The German driving schools do not claim the sole credit for this positive development, but they have undoubtedly played a significant role in bringing it about.

Nevertheless, the specific accident risk which novice drivers represent cannot be completely eradicated, whatever the quality of the instruction they have received. This has, however, been reduced further since the introduction of the probationary driving licence in 1986.

The driving test

The driving test consists of a theoretical and a practical part. An officially recognized expert or examiner for motor vehicle traffic is responsible for the entire test. If a candidate fails, the test can be repeated. Candidates are only admitted to the practical test when they have passed the theoretical part.

The theoretical test uses multiple-choice questions to establish whether the candidate has the necessary knowledge. A candidate passes the test if he does not exceed the permissible number of errors laid down in the test statutes. The theoretical tests should, in principle, be carried out in German, but the basic material may also be examined in various foreign languages.

The practical test consists of a test drive which includes certain basic driving tasks. The tasks, which are laid down in the test statues for each class of licence, are intended to demonstrate that the candidate is capable of properly operating and controlling the vehicle. The test drive is, above all, intended to demonstrate that even in difficult traffic situations the candidate is capable of safely driving the vehicle and adapting his driving to the situation.

The driving test is also carried out on country roads and motorways. A candidate passes the practical test if the basic driving tasks are accomplished without error and during the test drive he does not commit any grave errors or accumulate an excess of minor errors.

In summary

In 1992 there were some 16,000 driving schools operating in Germany.

Eighteen autonomous Land associations with a total of some 18,000 members (including driving instructors employed) look after the interests of their members in each federal Land. Their umbrella organization is the National Driving School Association Inc. of Germany, which has its official seat in Bonn.

The organs of the National Driving Schools are: the Assembly of Members (delegates); the overall Board, made up of the chairpersons of the Land associations; the Executive Board. The main goal of the National Driving School is to further the cause of traffic safety and protection of the environment by assuring professional initial and further training of vehicle drivers. It also works to support a modern pedagogically conceived profession of driving instructor and to support and preserve private driving schools.

Had it not been for the united efforts of the driving instructors' associations and the many pedagogical, specialist and organizational ideas which they have come up with over the last 40 years, driving instruction in Germany would not have achieved its present high standards. An important role has been played by the ongoing exchange of ideas which has taken place with scientists, politicians and top administrators.

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All Comments (39)

Showing 1 - 39 comments


Tonya, I do not know if it is automatic, but I am sure it is much easier to become a driving instructor in the U.S.A. (where I live) than in Germany.


bth I'm ADI in UK...


Ummmm, looks like is a bit more difficult to become a driving instructor in Germany. I can see more theory to be larnt so can be though, but from other point of view I think thats good cos more experience u got, more informations u have in your head then better instructor U ar...
Process of becoming Germans ADI looks shorter but more complicated, Umust be fully focused at all.
Personally I like the way giving sessions in a classroom cos advantage of this si better understanding a subject by the pupil, beeing more flexible for them, not beeing under a preasure of a time eg. aim's, objective's, main point's in a quite short time and at the end covering practicing on the road.
IF there is someone thinks other way then is wrong!!! The same or quite similar process is practicing in Poland, more informations and better understanding u get, better and safer driver u w'll become... ;-)
... thank you J.


This should be a world standard driver licence method


how dose it cost on average to becomea driving instructor in Germany


I'm looking for a german school for teaching heavy trucks drivers in Egypt Do any one know a Greman school that want to have a branch in Egypt ??


I am a licensed driving instructor in Germany, how can I move to America and be a driving instructor? Is my teaching certificate in Germany still good in Idaho, USA?


hi, i'm tasos papanatsios and i work as a driving instructor in Volos,Greece for a year now.I watded to ask if i need any other licence-parers to work in Germany. How can i get contact with people who want a driving instructor as an employee?

Thank's in advance


I am an english instructor for trucks.
what do I need -license-to work in germany. Any instructors are needed out there for big companies or driving school how can speak english and german.
many thanks. Kevin

Brian Coutts,

Hi my name is Brian Coutts
I have had a driving school in South Africa for 22 years ex UK army
And I and others have been trying to show the government that they SA are the only country that allow a truck license before a car license would you confirm this by emailing me back.


I am looking for work in germany.i am greek driver teacher

Richard Wind,

What is the toal cost to complete the class room instruction for the learners permit?


IN england you can take a learner driver out driving as long as there is a person with 4 yrs driving experience in the front passenger seat, can you do that in germany

ali baba,

i am driving instructor in london for 4years,perfect german speaker can i work in germany(fahrschulelehrer)thanks


Hi all
Before i was living in Luxembourg and passed the theory test there,then i moved just after the border in the German side, in the meantime my luxemburguish certificate expired, will i need to do everything again in Germany? do you know if there's a way to apply for the practice test only?



Check out our page on Driving in Germany at


I'm from Canada. My family and I are in Germany for 3 years. My daughter is 16 and would like to learn how to drive. As I know the process is long and costly in this country, when should/can I get her started at a German driving school?


I am a senior Driver Examiner for the
D.o.t in Barbados.
Recently I have been presented with German driving license.
I would appreciate an explanation of categories/classes.

Thank you.


Isabel H.,

I failed my driving test a year ago,but I want to do it again in onother driving school with automatic car.I have difficulty with manual so I want to transfer to onother driving school where there are more relax and friendlier Instructor.will I pay same price again(around 1000 euro).Any advice

simon cullen,

Dan thanks for your response,i share your doubts re. instructor training,here in ireland, we tend to follow the brits in everything including road safety, there is a saying here that when the brits cough we get a cold!
I changed my title from instructor to tutor because in this country instructors show pupils people how to drive, tutors teach and there is a huge difference, i came to this conclusion years ago when i came into contact with pupils from other "driving instructors"
in conclusion,2100 instructors sat the a.d.i test last year, 98 passed!!!. like you i would welcome a more open discussion on road safety generally and instructor/ driving training in particular.


Hi, I am a retired driving tutor(sic)living in Ireland. A few years ago one of of my pupils, who had lived in Germany,told me that failing the driving test there meant psycholigical assessment of the failed candidate. Is this true?


Mec, check out DRIVING IN GERMANY at


In came to Germany Late last month,June 08 and Have a Nigerian driving Liencence.iam married to a German and have all the neccesary papers to live and work here.i want to know if my Nigerian National driving liencence is valid for the normal 6 months driving before (Umschreiben).


hi, the instructor from spain, did you do your training in spain, and what did it entail,


hi , im from spain and just become in a driver instructor, could i go to work to german?
feedback in my mail . plx


Stu Gierach,


I have been a State Certified Driving Instructor here in Wisconsin for the past 2 1/2 yrs., and want to move to Germany this summer. I want to become an instructor in Germany, but from what I have been reading, it sounds pretty hard to get certified in germany to do this. Does anyone know what the odds are for me in accomplishing this. I do not have a college education or degrees of any kind, HELP. thanx, stewy

edward woodruff,

I have a licenes?Yes and also it easy to me to drive around the traffic and the intersation.

Liz Zemke,

I'm coming to Germany for a month. I have a valid CA driver's license and obtained an International Driver's License. I have a handicapped placard for parking-----is it valid in Germany and other spots in Europe, and what are the parking regs


Hi I have just lost my class 3 furschein that I've had since Feb 1992,

I don't technically live in Germany any more....but my son ther ANYWAY I can pay the fee and apply for a replacement? .....if yes what is the process?

Thank you so much


Does anyone know of an English speaking driving instructor in the Bitburg area

obaid, from U.A.E,

Basically i belong to Pakistan But i born and brought here in UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.I am also a driving instructor in SHARJAH (city in UAE) i ve come to know that sharjah follows the german law.can ya confirm me that in SHARJAH the traffic laws are the in germany..and if i want to become a professional in the field what should i do then ? thanks


Simon, It's good that Ireland is going to test instructors. However, training of instructors in most places leaves a lot to be desired. There just isn't the curriculum or the analysis of driving to provide a good program.

Germany and Japan are recognized as having very thorough training but there really is a need for discussion amongst driving instructors around the world about what to teach and how.


I am a retired driving tutor, I changed my title from "instructor" to tutor a long time ago. Speaking personally, I found pupils from other driving schools,who were recommended to me, had been shown rather than taught to drive. Here in Ireland the testing of driving instructors, after 40 years since the driving test was introduced,only becomes law in July 2008.
Our road collision statistics( I deliberately avoid using the word "accident" in this context)are among the worst in Europe caused, in my opinion, by the horse and cart mentality that pervades driver education here.


After a bit more research on google, I discovered that germany has not a real constitution but Basic Law:
BASIC LAW for the Federal Republic of Germany
(Promulgated by the Parliamentary Council on 23 May 1949)
(as Amended by the Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990 and Federal Statute of 23 September 1990)

The most interesting section is Article 146 (Duration of validity of the Basic Law)
(amended by Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990 and federal statute 23 September 1990).

"This Basic Law, which is valid for the entire German people following the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany, shall cease to be in force on the day on which a constitution adopted by a free decision of the German people comes into force. "

In otherwords, a vote for a real constitution to replace the one drawn up with the 2nd Reich people in 1945 (+ an official peace treaty, never signed yet) is all it takes to invalidate the entire government of Germany of today! That's why the courts are scared of these driver's licences from the "successor" german government.


Hi Dan,
Sorry I can't really show you the article because it contains other things I don't agree with, and don't want to propagate. The only legitimate reference is this wikipedia entry:
in german.
Basically, there's a legal group that claims the original 2nd Reich (before 1939) is still valid in law based on the 1945 power sharing treaties of the occupying forces, and that since the GDR and the BRD merged, they ceased to be legal entities and are therefore illegitimate governments. As you say, far out. BUT - the courts are dissmissing cases where people produce apparently legal driver's licences issued by this organization for fear of publicity and having popular sentiment of germans wanting their own independent germany back, free of american occupation, etc. Apparently there are lawyers ready to argue this, and there is nothing the former BRD can do about it...I just wonder where one applies for a Second Reich German driver's licence?! Very weird, but apparently true.


Where did you find the article? This looks way too far out. Never heard of an alternative License in Germany and all of Europe is now moving to conform to a European standard.Besides, why would anyone be acquitted of any offense just because of their license. The laws are the laws.


Is there more than one kind of german driving licence? I read a political article that said "The Second German Reich (under Wolfgang Gerhard Guenter Ebel) continues to issue its own passports and driving licences. Over the past 2-3 years (2003-present) ther has been a sharp increase in the number of motorists who have been acquitted for speeding or parking offences, simply on the strength of their having produced a German Reich driving licence (as opposed to a "BRD" one). What is going on here? Is the author pulling legs, or is there really a political rivallry starting in Germany to go back to the original 2nd Reich? Thank you, confused, Chris in Canada.

Erika Stevens,

Yes, too many drivers conveniently exonerate
themselves from following driving laws and rules
because they are from "somewhere" else.
Everyone needs to become a responsible driver
in any country they drive - this includes a
driving test.

Suanhak Quek,

I have an expired US-Illinios license and a valid Australian International license, also a valid Malaysian and Taiwanese license
Do still need to take a test?
Thank you

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