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Identification Card Services
Building 10 General Patton Drive
Hohenfels Germany 92366
Contact information for key programs and services at this installation.
Figuring out the best way to get around is important when you’re in a new installation. It’s useful to understand the various regulations, local laws as well as license and registration requirements. Whether you need a driver’s license, transport a car overseas or want help buying a car, there are people to assist you at your new installation. Check out the topics below to find information and regulations on vehicles and registration at your base.
Vehicles are subject to safety inspections at all times. It is the responsibility of the owner/operator to ensure safe mechanical condition of his/her vehicle. Strict laws prohibit running out of gas while driving in Germany, which will result in heavy fines.
Drivers will notify MPs of accidents on U.S. installations. Drivers will notify both German police and MPs, if the accident occurs outside of a US installation. Drivers involved in a single POV accident that results in property damage must report the accident immediately or face charges of hit and run. In the case of an accident, if your car is disabled and cannot be moved, immediately place your warning triangle out to warn oncoming traffic. It should be placed at least one hundred (100) meters away from your vehicle. Next, call the German police at telephone number 110 (or use the call box). You will be required to give details concerning the incident. For the German authorities, you have the right to get a lawyer before making any statements. You may be asked by the German police to sign an accident report. The best thing to do is to write on the report, "I do not speak or read German and I do not understand this report", before signing your name.
Breakdown on Autobahns
When driving on an Autobahn, should you have a breakdown, it is best to try to bring your car to the extreme right parking lane, called the STANDSPUR. The STANDSPUR is provided for emergency use only. On the Autobahn, you will find white posts at regular intervals. On these posts, small black arrows point the way to the next emergency box. These call boxes are located, at 1 kilometers (km)(0.6 mile) intervals throughout the entire German Autobahn system. Simply lift the shutter and wait until someone from the local highway service talks to you, then give the number of the call box so they will know where you are located. If you are involved in an accident in Germany, you may be held liable for expenses related to the accident. For example, you may be billed for road cleanup, fire truck and ambulance response, damage to road signs, trees, lawns, and animals. This can include the productive life value lost by the damage or destruction of the animal or plant.
Good Samaritan LawGermany has a Good Samaritan Law that requires everyone, in case of an accident, common danger, or distress, to render all aid, which could be expected under the circumstances. Failure to render aid can result in a fine or imprisonment.
A fuel ration system exists in Germany, which allows Soldiers and family members who fall under the SOFA with Germany to purchase fuel for POVs at market rates similar to those found in the U.S., and less than fuel purchased on the economy. Fuel for POVs is purchased using a fuel ration card and can be purchased at AAFES gas stations located on military installations in Germany, or at ESSO stations located off post. Anyone who uses their fuel ration card incorrectly, or who uses more than their month ration amount, will have to pay German fuel prices, which are substantially higher. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and eligible U.S civilian is responsible for using their fuel ration card properly after they've received it and activated it. To ensure complete understanding of proper fuel card use, all U.S. personnel who are stationed in Germany or otherwise eligible for the fuel ration card should fully review all published information on fuel ration card implementation and use. This includes all U.S. Forces and US State Department personnel who are either permanently stationed or on temporary duty in Germany and their family members with drivers licenses who are permanently stationed in Germany.
Child Safety Seats and Booster Seats
All children under 12 years of age under 59 inches (5 feet, 4 inches) tall must ride in the back seat of all automobiles. The child must be secured with suitable European Union (EU) Regulation 44-approved or U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved child restraint devices. Children weighing more than 48 pounds will use booster devices or other suitable child-restraint devices to ensure that the seat belts fit properly. Seat belts are required to be worn by everyone at all times.
GERMAN LAW states that children under 12 years old and smaller than 150 cm (59 inches) may only be carried in vehicles on seats with certified safety belts and in certified restraint systems designed for the size of the child. Until 31 December 1997, this law does not apply to children carried in the seats of taxis unless the child is a regular passenger. Exceptions to this law are only allowed when, because of transporting other passengers, the possibility of properly securing the restraint device no longer exists.
Child restraint systems must meet the requirements for age, size, and weight of the child and must be suitable for the vehicle.
Certified restraint systems display ECE sign which means tested and approved by the latest Europe-Norm R44. ECE is abbreviation for “Economic Commission of Europe.” R44 contains standardized regulations for the approval of child-restraint systems in vehicles within Europe.
The label is orange and provides the following information:
Child restraint devices displaying the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and the DOT (Department of Transportation) signs are also acceptable for USAREUR registered vehicles.
Groups and Possibilities:
Up to 9 months
Up to 10kg
Laying in a baby seat placed in a semi-sitting position in the “Reboard-System” in the passenger seat facing the rear window
App. 9 months-3 years
Place in the “Reboard System” in the passenger seat with a suspender belt or a shoulder/lap belt with or without protective bar
Booster seat, with protective bar used with vehicle installed shoulder/lap belt
Booster seat with protective bar used with vehicle installed shoulder/lap belt
What to look for when purchasing child restraint devices:
Contrary to popular belief, German autobahns do have a suggested speed limit of 130 km (about 80 miles per hour). During vacation periods and rush hours, the traffic on the Autobahn quickly backs up (STAU). A STAU may occur at caution points, construction sites, or during environmental test stretches and will be (normally) posted. In accidents involving speeds over 130 km, drivers can be liable regardless of the circumstances. On the autobahn, the left lanes are for passing only. Right lane passing is illegal. Two-lane highways have a speed limit of 100 km and city driving is 50 km. Follow speed limits. German police use cameras as a method of catching speeders, both on city streets and on the autobahn. The camera will take a photo of the driver, the license plates, or both. Driving twice the posted limit may result in loss of driving privileges. Using a horn, flashing lights or making hand gestures are forbidden in Germany. If the POLIZEI (German Police) stops you for a traffic violation, don't be surprised if you are asked to pay your fine on the spot.
All passengers require seat belts. Children under 12 are required to sit in the back seat. Children fewer than four are required to use an approved child car seat.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Should you ever be requested by the German police to take an alcohol blood test, do not resist them. It is their duty to require that you do so and they can insist that you comply. Enjoy yourself, but when it is time to go home take a taxi, use public transportation, or ride with your designated driver. Repairs -- Check the terms of your car's warranty. It might require the dealer to perform the needed repairs free of charge. If possible, check the repair shop's complaint record before getting your car repaired. Talk to friends. Don't tell the mechanic what you think needs to be fixed unless it's obvious. Instead, describe the problem and its symptoms. Let the mechanic figure out what's wrong. For major repairs, consider getting a second opinion, even if you have to tow the car to another shop. Before you leave the car, get a written estimate that clearly describes what you want done. Ask the shop to contact you before making repairs not covered in the estimate. If the shop does additional work without your approval, you don't have to pay for it. Ask to inspect and/or keep all replaced parts. Keep copies of all work orders and receipts, and get all warranties in writing.
At some parking lots, you must pay at the time you park. Automatic machines dispense a ticket for the amount of time you wish to park. You need to place the ticket in your windshield before leaving the lot and return before the time is up. The posted sign also indicates how long you're allowed to park in this lot. 1 Std. 7-22h. This means that you can park for one hour (STUNDE) from 0700 to 2200. In some parking lots you may be required to display a parking disk in your windshield. The signs for those lots will state MIT PARKSCHEIBE (with parking disc). Sometimes a maximum parking time will be indicated. When you park in an area, which requires a parking disc, set the clock to the time you park and place it on your dashboard. Return to your car within the posted time limit. It is illegal to return to your car, reset your clock, and remain parked past the time limit. You can purchase a blue parking clock at AAFES exchanges, the ADAC, auto parts stores, or gas stations. Keep it in your car at all times.
Visitors Driving in Germany
Be aware that visiting family members and other visitors you may have, are not allowed to operate your POVs without filling out the proper customs paperwork. Please contact the customs field office for a copy of the rules governing visitor driving in Germany, and to fill out the necessary form. Advise family members and friends to obtain an International Driver's license from AAA before coming to Europe.
State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
Make sure you and eligible family member's posses a valid stateside driver's license. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requires a valid stateside license or attendance at a German driving school. Obtaining a USAREUR driver's license in Europe generally requires passing two tests, a written multiple-choice test and a street sign test. Study guides are available from the Driver's Testing Station. The cost of a USAREUR driver's license is currently $10.
In Germany, family members must be 18 to be licensed, but can be issued a learner's permit at 17. Professional driving instruction is available on the local German economy, but can more than $1,500. DoDEA schools do not offer drivers training classes.
International Driver's License
Many countries outside Germany do require an international driver's license when operating a motor vehicle. It is highly recommended, and less expensive, to obtain one prior to moving to Germany. International Driver's licenses can also be obtained once here, at the city hall in Parsberg.
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.
USAREUR REGULATION (UR 190-1, 22 Feb 00) prescribes policy and procedures for licensing privately owned vehicles (POV), drivers, and registering POVs in the Federal Republic of Germany under the Supplemental Agreement (SA) to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
POVs must meet the minimum standards of exterior condition considered acceptable in the local military or civilian community. License plates must be completely visible and the rear plate centered under the light. Latching devices, including locks on body doors, must be operational. Body rust and corrosion at locations that would weaken areas protecting the driver or passengers will cause the POV to be rejected. Paintings or markings resembling those normally used on U.S. government-owned vehicles, and markings that might associate a POV with a foreign government, are prohibited. Installing any of the following types of lighting is prohibited: White, amber or any color lights behind the grill for the purpose of lighting up the grill, lights in the wheel walls, under fenders, or behind the tires. Vehicles will not have more than two original or add-on stoplights affixed in the rear window, or decorative lighting around the license plate. POVs must be equipped with safety glass, except when the vehicle manufacturer uses Plexiglas. The windshield will be free of damage (excluding scratches and chips) located in the driver's windshield wiping area.
Registration of POV
POVs can be registered at the Vehicle Registration office located in Bldg. 10. A vehicle inspection and insurance are mandatory prior to permanantly registering the POV.
German law prohibits cleaning or repairing vehicles on public roads. Before tenants may collect old cars for repair, they must first obtain permission from the landlord. Parking cars in private yards is only permitted in specific places. Visitors cannot park in yards without permission from the landlord. Warming up car engines by idling is against German law and often fined.
German Automobile Clubs
Remember "Triple-A" back in the States? It stood for the American Automobile Association and offered you all sorts of technical help, road maps, tour information, and insurance. In Germany, the equivalent organization is called ADAC, which stands for Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobile Club. It offers you an equally wide variety of services, with some additional services available upon request. ADAC is not the only automobile club in Germany; there are several others, who also provide the same basic services for approximately the same prices. You can find information about these clubs in the Stars and Stripes.
ADAC will give you breakdown assistance wherever you may find yourself in Germany. It will tow your car off the autobahn in an emergency. It will send you its monthly automobile magazine (ADAC Motorwelt, the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the world). It will give you personal travel information, technical advice on cars, and do-it-yourself safety courses. It will even test your wheel alignment, brakes, lights, shock absorbers, and speedometer. It provides language assistance for all European countries and even has a pet-return service. Basic membership, for one driver and one car is approximately Euro 40.00. For an additional Euro 50.00 a year, ADAC offers the Euroschutzbrief, a legal protection policy, covering you and your family during travel in other European countries. All prices noted here are approximates. Thanks to ADAC's affiliation with automobile clubs throughout Europe, you'll be covered in case of breakdown, accident, theft, or illness. Coverage includes towing your car, transporting your family, paying your medical bills, and hiring a rental car.