Traffic offenders: points reform leads to a run on driving schools

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Points reform leads to a run on driving schools

Traffic offenders: points reform leads to a run on driving schools-points

Many driving schools in Germany registered a significant increase in demand this spring. However, it is not novice drivers who are responsible for the increase, but tactical oneserend traffic offenders

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

Traffic offenders only have a few days to delete points from their Flensburg card index with seminars. Although the reform is about to take effect, many do not know how the new system works.

VThis spring, many driving schools in Germany registered a significant increase in demand. Responsible for the increase are not novice drivers, but tactical traffic offenders.

Before the conversion of the Flensburg traffic register in May, they want to get rid of as many points as possible – an advanced seminar makes it possible. "There were about twice as many inquiries about the courses for the reduction of points as usual," said Gerhard von Bressensdorf, chairman of the Federal Association of Driving Instructors’ Associations.

Whether in Bavaria, Saxony or Hamburg: the driving instructors gave more seminars everywhere. "In the past few weeks we have sold at least twice as many booklets as usual," said the deputy chairman of the North Rhine Driving Instructors Association, Kurt Bartels. Otherwise, only about every fourth participant came voluntarily to the advanced courses.

Now the proportion is significantly higher. "From the truck driver to the managing director, everything is included," said Bartels. "There have recently been significantly more drivers who wanted to drop points," confirmed Walter Weibmann, Chairman of the Association of Bavarian Driving Instructors.

With eight points, the driver’s license is gone

The background to the onslaught is the reform of the traffic register: traffic offenders can only submit their certificates for the old courses to the authorities until the end of April and thus offset up to four points in Flensburg. After that, the discount that the voluntary trainings bring falls to one point. And even that only applies to drivers with a maximum of five points.

The advanced seminars are thus adapted to the revised points system. This stipulates that, depending on the offense, only one to three points are recorded in the Flensburg card index instead of the previous one to seven points. In return, drivers lose their driver’s license with eight instead of the previous 18 points.

The inclusion of psychological discussions in the seminars is also intended to prevent the ignorant from simply serving them. "There will be no more frontal teaching," said Jost Karger from ADAC. Not only the effort but also the costs for the training could increase.

Voluntary course attendance is also possible

At 400 to 500 euros, the new aptitude to drive seminar should cost almost twice as much as the previous one. "The point reduction therefore makes sense above all for drivers who are on the threshold of a warning." In future, this will be four points.

According to the new regulation, there is no longer compulsory participation in the advanced seminars for repeat offenders. And the voluntary courses for the point discount will initially only exist until 2019. Then the reform comes back to the test.

According to the old regulation, up to four points could be offset with a driving school seminar and two points with traffic psychological advice. All offenses also have fixed limitation periods: an offense punished with one point disappears after two and a half years, one with two points after five years, one with three points after ten years.

Many do not feel informed enough

But even shortly before the deadline, Germany’s drivers are skeptical of the upcoming changes. This is the result of a current survey by the Association for Citizen-Friendly Transport Policy (VFBV, www.bussgeldkatalog.org).

According to this, 50 percent of the road users surveyed clearly doubt whether the point reform makes sense and is in the interests of the citizens. Around 42 percent see at least some aspects of the reform as positive, while only around eight percent clearly support the new system.

As the VFBV study shows, road users from politics and authorities do not feel adequately informed in the run-up to the point reform: Only around 14 percent of those surveyed consider themselves well prepared for the upcoming reform, while around 63 percent still see significant gaps. Around 23 percent even stated that they were not yet familiar with the changes shortly before May 1st.

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