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Motor Vehicles

Registration and licensing requirements

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.

Motor vehicle laws

State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:

  • Seatbelt use
  • Child safety seats
  • Motorcycle operation
  • The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving

Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.

Installation Specific Information

Driver's License

Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requires that all U.S. personnel and family members assigned to Germany first have a valid stateside license, German, or other recognized country license in order to receive a United States Army Europe (USAREUR) Privately Owned Vehicles (POV) license. Personnel without a valid license will have to attend driver's training on the local economy at their own expense (~$2000). The minimum age for operation of a POV in Germany is 17. Individuals with graduated/provisional/limited drivers licenses will usually have the same restrictions issued on their USAREUR driver's licenses.

In order to obtain a USAREUR POV license, you must attend an orientation class. You will need to study the online Driver's Testing Manual (AE Pamphlet 190-34) prior to attending the orientation. Everyone should study rigorously -- test material is significantly different than Stateside driver's tests. Approximately half of all test takers initially fail the 100 question test.

 

Personnel who pass the test need to pay a ten dollar charge to receive their driver's license. The Drivers Training and Testing Station (DTTS) accepts credit cards, personal checks, or money orders.

 

Personnel assigned to Germany traveling outside of the country are able to drive on their USAREUR certificate in Allied countries only. Personnel driving in East Block countries must be in possession of a valid International Driver's Permit. Permits can be issued against the USAREUR license and are obtained from local county offices (Fuehrerscheinstelle).

 

Vehicle Registration on Installation

Accompanied personnel are authorized three Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs) and two motorized and non-motorized recreational POVs. Unaccompanied or single personnel are authorized two POV and one motorized recreational POV. Requests for waivers to the limit of POVs registered must be approved by the Garrison Commander.

Basic vehicle registration requirements: AE Form 190-1AA, stateside registration/title, double white insurance card, USAREUR driver's license, ID card, DD Form 788, registration fee $30.

Installation Regulations

 

 

Traffic -- In order to drive in Germany, either on or off-post, individuals on orders in Germany must have a valid USAREUR Driver's License. Individuals on TDY may utilize their stateside license along with TDY orders to operate a rental vehicle. Without a valid USAREUR license, individuals are not authorized to drive USAREUR plated vehicles.

Seat Belts -- All occupants in a vehicle are required to wear their seat belt. If the child is between the ages of zero and twelve they are required to use another form of restraint. If the child is too large for a car seat then he/she must use a booster seat until the age of twelve or until they are 5 feet tall. You can usually find these safety items at the Post Exchange, but merchandise is limited. It may be wise to bring one from CONUS. 1st violation of this policy results in an automatic suspension of driving privileges for 7 days. 2nd offense is 30 days and 3rd offense and subsequent offenses is 90 days.

Mobile or Cellular Phones -- Vehicle operators may no longer use mobile or cellular phones while driving if they have to pick up or hold a receiver or the telephone itself. This also applies to dialing, sending short messages (SMS), and calling up data. Hands-free devices and/or headsets are authorized under the same provisions and if hearing is not reduced, therefore solely systems with only one earphone are authorized. If the vehicle is parked or if engines of motor vehicles are turned off, the use of mobile or cellular phones is authorized. This also applies to bicyclists. Violators are subject to a fine.

 

Vehicle Checks -- Vehicles must pass inspection to be registered and eligible for USAREUR license plates. Whether these inspections are conducted annually, bi-annually or every three years depends on the age of the vehicle. NOTE: Tinted windshield and front windows are illegal in Germany. The only exception to this rule is if the vehicle is manufactured with the tint. Also any kind of fluid leaks will result in failing vehicle inspection.

Winter Driving Requirements -- Enforced winter tire requirement - German Road Traffic Ordinance stipulates that a POV may only be operated on icy or snowy roads, on black ice, or slush if all wheels are equipped with M + S tires or approved all season tires. Winter tires must have M & S letters or a snow flake symbol, all season tires must show the symbols for all four seasons. Make sure all lights are in good working order, brakes properly adjusted and battery charging properly and battery terminals are clean and tight. Be sure all fluids are at proper levels, including anti-freeze at the right level and concentration and ensure windshield wiper blades are cleaning properly.

Mandatory items to have in your vehicle while driving in Germany are an approved first aid kit and warning triangle.

Suggested check-list of winter items to have in your vehicle while driving in Germany are: snow shovel, ice scraper and a brush, tow chain or strap, tire chains, flashlight (with extra batteries), jumper cables, abrasive material (cat litter, sand, salt, or traction mats), a flashing yellow light, and reflective vest.

Shipping Privately Owned Vehicles

The government may ship one Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) for you at their expense to your new overseas location. This is handled through your transportation office. Remember to review your POV needs at your counseling session.

 

Move.mil has a whole section devoted to POV shipping information. The shipping contractor has established a website where you can track the location of your POV throughout the shipping process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Associated Links

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