Record number of people taking driving tests in Germany - 40 percent fail

Record number of people taking driving tests in Germany - 40 percent fail

According to new figures from the TÜV Association, a record number of people took tests in the hope of receiving their German driving licence in 2022. But that doesn’t mean there’s a record number of new people driving in Germany: in fact, the failure rate increased enormously. 

3,6 million people took driving tests in Germany in 2022

As the TÜV Association announced in a press release last week, 1,76 million people learning to drive in Germany took their practical driving tests in 2022 - 6,7 percent more than in the previous year - while 1,81 million passed their theoretical exams, 91.000 (5,3 percent) more than in the previous year. 

The driving tests in Germany remain notoriously difficult (or rigorous, depending on which way you look at it!). If you’ve ever taken a test and failed, take heart: in 2022, 39 percent of learner drivers failed their theoretical test, and 37 percent failed the practical test for driving category B vehicles - saloons, hatchbacks, SUVs and other day-to-day cars. 

Failure rate for practical and theory tests increasing

As the TÜV Association notes, this means that the failure rate is actually increasing: last year, 37 percent of people failed their theory test on road signs and traffic rules, in 2013 it was just 29 percent. For practical tests, the failure rate in 2013 was 32 percent. 

Richard Goebelt, a member of the TÜV Association management board, said that the reasons for the rising failure rate were manifold and needed to be further investigated, although he speculated that one cause was the increasingly complex and dense road traffic. “If we want to reverse the trend, we need better road safety education in schools and at home, as well as further strengthening of driver training.” 

While ntv quoted Kurt Bartels, vice-chairperson of the Federal Association of Driving Instructors’ Associations, as saying that young drivers are less attentive on the roads than they used to be - he speculated that they use their mobile phones more while being driven and so aren’t developing a “natural affinity for traffic” for when they start to drive themselves - the TÜV Association noted that younger learner drivers generally do better at the practical driving test than older learners. 

Fewer driving fatalities in Germany involve novice drivers

The TÜV said it had made many changes to the driving tests in recent years to ensure they remain rigorous and in step with current driving conditions. Indeed, they attributed these changes to the fact that fewer and fewer novice drivers have accidents nowadays. The number of 18- to 24-year-olds killed in traffic accidents has fallen from 2.749 in 1991 to 326 in 2020. 

“In Germany, you only get a driving licence if you are familiar with the traffic rules and rules of conduct in road traffic and really master a vehicle,” said Goebelt. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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Ramakrishna Kom... 11:02 | 20 February 2023

The driving license system in Germany is not the same for all immigrants who have a driving license from their home country. The primary goal of the strict theory tests, driving lessons and exams was road safety. But there are many instances where these are either compromised or result in unequal treatment and unequal rights for drivers who can actually drive but are unable to because of the notorious exam system. The following points are worth mentioning to explain the problems. 1. In the first 6 months after arriving in Germany, one can use the driver's license from the home country for driving and after that one has to get the German driver's license through exams and super expensive lessons, and the chances of passing are slim. Once a person fails, they have to spend a lot of money to go through the process again. The question here is if a person can drive the first 6 months, how can they be disabled after that? 2. In countries like the Netherlands there is a tax status called the 30% rule and an eligible person holding a driver's license from their home country can simply exchange the driver's license without an exam. In addition, he can easily drive across Europe. How does this institution define and guarantee road safety in terms of the German driver's license test? The driving schools are charging so much money and may cheat by discouraging people and forcing them to take additional courses to siphon off money. Is there a regulation of Government on them? Although it is in the EU, each country has a different system for obtaining a driver's license, for example Belgium issues the provisional driver's license after around 20 hours of driving lessons and it is valid for 18 months to drive yourself before taking the test. This saves the learner a lot of money. Other countries have different rules of their own. Here are the few ways to make things easy. 1. implement the system from Belgium as described in 2. Depending on the situation or country where the person is from, make a theory test and a few lessons in the driving school compulsory without the practical test. 3. People who don't have a license from any country should go through the whole process now.

LeonardoBrunetto2 23:58 | 20 February 2023

This whole process is a complete scam. I am from Brazil and I thought that coming to Germany I would be safe from scam as the Germans all say that they are honest. When I was in Fahrschule every Fahrstunde the Fahrlehrer took me to some place where he could chat with another colleagues and smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes. This is ridiculous while I am paying he is enjoying? That is bullshit. Also, they insist that this whole process must be only in German. I know I am leaving here now, but for this specific process I need to know how to drive a car and not how to speaker German. Also my last exams I failed because I was driving 90km/h when, by the traffic sign, I could be driving 100kh/h. Then I asked th guy from TUEV, he said I need to proof that I know the speed limit by driving on the speed limit. That's also ridiculous and why I call this a complete scam to take money from people. I am pretty sure there is no regulation on the Fahrschule, tuev and this whole process. Now 12 months have gone and I did not pass and now I have to pay everything all over again since the Anmeldung in LBV theoric test and so on. I drive in Brazil for more then 20 years and have never crashed a car. Here I heard that I am a dangerous for the German traffic. I really wish that someone could so something here.

Ramakrishna Kom... 11:22 | 21 February 2023

Sign this petition and circulate as our part to express the pain in getting the license. ..

JULIENBARDIN2 11:29 | 29 August 2023