Traffic law: experts call for video protocol in the “idiot test”

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Experts call for video log at "Idiot test"

Traffic law: experts call for video protocol in the "idiot test"-idiot

If you are caught at the wheel with 1.6 per mille, you lose your driver’s license and have to go to the "Idiot test". A good 100,000 German motorists complete this study every year. 35 percentt not get their driver’s license back.

Source: picture-alliance / ZB / Zentralbild / Jens Wolf

If a driver’s license is withdrawn, a psychological test that has been controversial for years awaits those affected. Experts call for a change in the procedure.

W.Quite transparent, difficult to understand and, above all, not subject to appeal: the medical-psychological examination (MPU), or “idiot test” for short, to which around 100,000 motorists are legally required to undergo every year, is being scrutinized. Experts from automobile clubs such as ADAC or ACE and traffic lawyers particularly criticize the opacity of the psychological part of the test that drivers license holders usually have to take after alcohol or drug abuse or with 18 points in the Flensburg traffic offender file. The test result then decides whether and under what conditions you can get your confiscated driving license back.

“The scandal is that you cannot defend yourself against decisions taken in the“ idiot test ”,” says Christian Janeczek, an expert at the German Lawyers’ Association (DAV). In addition, the applied criteria of the psychological evaluation are hardly understandable for outsiders and often also for those involved and certainly not universally valid.

This is why the associations want video or tape records of all MPU conversations to be mandatory in the future. So far, such documentation has only been offered on a voluntary basis and by some of the 150 assessment bodies nationwide.

The President of the Munich Administrative Court, Harald Geiger, calls for a “technical recording of the conversation” in order to make “the matter for us judges and for those affected” understandable.

Professor Lothar Schmidt-Atzert from the Institute for Psychology at the Philipps University of Marburg affirmed that documentation would increase the quality and validity of the reports and increase the diligence of the reviewers. In short, the review of the examiners is encouraged.

Another point of criticism is the regulation, which has been in force since September 2008, that an MPU can be ordered after a single "significant" violation of traffic regulations and that there are no legal remedies for those affected.

A significant violation is usually understood to mean, for example, participating in illegal car races or driving in a completely drunk state (from 1.6 per thousand). However, the case of a 17-year-old from Baden-Wurttemberg, reported by ADAC legal expert Markus Schape, shows the dilemma of the regulation. The owner of a driver’s license on probation, which only allows driving in the company of an "adult", was caught by the police alone at the wheel. Although, as required in the case of a major violation, he was not prescribed retraining, the authorities sent him to the MPU. The regulation in its current form obviously allows arbitrary contradictions, which the person concerned is powerless to face.

The DAV also calls for more clarity and even exception regulations. As an example, club expert Frank Hacker cited a truck driver who has been driving on the road for years without complaints. It is questionable to prove that he is banned from driving in his spare time if he exceeds his speed limit once.

According to the ADAC, the number of MPU graduates is relatively constant. In 2008 there were a good 103,000. 56% of them because of drink-driving, 18% because of drugs, 15% because of other abnormalities and 1% because of physical limitations that made it necessary to test their fitness to drive. (Incidentally, the MPU was originally introduced for this group). According to the information, 65.7% passed the test, with 13.7% of them having to complete additional training beforehand.

Around 35,000 drivers did not get their driver’s license back. As a rule, you are advised to take the test again after a certain period of time. The exam can even be repeated as often as you like. The MPU fee averages around 550 euros.

The investigation consists of three steps. First, a device tests the driver’s ability to concentrate and react, testing whether alcohol or drug abuse has damaged the test person’s nerves. Then, depending on the reason for the examination, blood or urine samples will be taken. The third and often decisive part is an interview with a traffic psychologist. It should be assessed whether the driver understands his wrongdoing and has drawn the "correct" conclusions from it.

"Getting your driver’s license back is hard work, ”says Thomas Wagenpfeil, traffic psychologist at Tuv Sud in Regensburg. “It starts with the understanding that there is problematic driving behavior. And the driver has to change this behavior. "

At the ADAC one has the impression that many of those who failed see the MPU as a “second punishment” in addition to the withdrawal of their driving license and for that reason do not accept it.

There is apparently broad agreement about the need to modify the MPU. At the beginning of the traffic court day in Goslar (January 27-29), Federal Transport Minister Ramsauer (CSU) told Bild-Zeitung that more educational work about the MPU has to be done here. Because with the corresponding information on the MPU , those affected would not be so skeptical or doubtful.

Number of road deaths from alcohol is falling

The current discussion is also being conducted against the background of the latest number of accidents caused by drink-driving. In 2008 there were around 19,600 such accidents with injuries nationwide. 15 years ago it was a good double and 30 years ago it was almost three times as many. 523 people were killed in alcohol accidents in 2008. (1993: 2000; 1978: 3500). The number of seriously injured people has also fallen by two thirds to just under 7,000 within 15 years.

Likewise, the number of drivers caught under the influence of alcohol at the wheel is falling. In 2009 it was just under 191,000. In 2001 there were just under 231,000. But the regional disparity is immense.

In 2009 there were 36.06 alcohol accidents for every 100,000 inhabitants in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. That is a top value in Germany. In Saarland (34.76), Schleswig-Holstein (32.53) and Saxony-Anhalt (30.73) an above-average number of accidents occurred under the influence of alcohol.

Only four federal states fell short of the national average of 24.20 (Bavaria: 21.77, Berlin: 21.42, Hamburg: 20.43 and North Rhine-Westphalia 18.78). And most of the accidents result in injuries and even deaths. While in Germany an average of 14 people died for every 1,000 accidents, the same number of accidents caused by alcohol abuse claimed 27 victims.

The Traffic Court Conference has been discussing traffic policy and legal issues once a year for decades. Proposals and suggestions presented or discussed at the congress have mostly been taken up or implemented by the legislature in the past.

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