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Student driver with truck driving simulator

Photo: Leligny JM / Andia / IMAGO

Driving licenses are becoming increasingly more expensive: on average, German driving students had to pay over 3,000 euros for them in 2023, a recent analysis for “Welt am Sonntag” showed, eleven percent more than in 2022. Union politicians now want to counteract this - among other things, by driving schools relying more on simulators .

“We want to make driving licenses fit for the 21st century and ensure that mobility is affordable, especially for young people in rural areas,” says CDU transport politician Florian Müller.

The transport working group of the Union parliamentary group has drawn up a paper on this, which was first reported by the “Rheinische Post” and which is also available to SPIEGEL.

It still has to be coordinated with the rest of the Union faction.

The proposed measures should make driving licenses "up to 25 percent cheaper," says Müller, and for individual learner drivers they should save over 1,000 euros.

Among other things, Union politicians want to further digitize the application process for driving licenses and thereby reduce bureaucratic effort.

They want to open the driving license test to other providers so that there are more test dates;

Applicable standards should be maintained.

The Union group also wants to make it easier for driving instructors to become examiners and no longer link it to engineering training;

In this way, examiners from the Bundeswehr and the federal and state police could also be approved.

ADAC: Simulator is no guarantee for fewer practical hours

The Union also wants to rely more on driving simulators in training, including for the twelve mandatory special trips on motorways and in the dark.

“This can reduce the number of practical units overall,” says the paper.

Some driving schools already use simulators during training.

The ADAC sees positively that these systems could allay some students' fears of their first driving lesson or that exceptional situations such as an approaching ambulance with blue lights could be simulated.

In this respect, the simulator could be a “useful addition,” writes the ADAC on its website, but: “No simulator guarantees that you need fewer practical hours.”