German law: ‘zero limit’ on alcohol for drivers under 21

by Robert Szostek U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal

Recently enacted German law now prohibits drivers under 21 years old from having any alcohol in their blood system while driving in Germany.

The laws include American drivers, either on or off U.S. military installations.
“These drivers will be subject to a fine if caught by German police and will have two points assessed on their licenses,” said Lt. Col. Lon Walker, chief of law enforcement operations at the U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal.
The former €125 fine has doubled to €250, he said.

In addition to the fine, USAREUR will suspend the driving privileges of any Soldier, civilian employee or family member under 21 caught by German police
operating a vehicle with alcohol in their bloodstream, PMO officials said.

 The suspension will be 30 days for a first offense, 60 days for a second offense and 90 days for a third offense.
If military police officers catch anyone under 21 driving on a U.S. installation in Germany with alcohol in their blood, the license suspensions will be the only punishment, PMO officials said. But drivers may also be subject to drunken driving penalties.

Colonel Walker said a lack of experience makes younger drivers more likely to have accidents than older drivers. Adding alcohol into the mix compounds the problem, with one small glass of wine raising the odds of a crash sixfold. He said “zero limits” for 17- to 20-year-olds are already in place in more than a dozen European countries, as well as in parts of the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Many other fines for driving offenses in Germany have been increased – some doubling – this year.

More information on German driving penalties and fines can be found at the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Web site at,2120/Schedule-