New theory test in Germany

In the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg the paper based test has been replaced by a computer based one. Other states will follow by 2010. This raises the quality of the examination and is expected to improve road safety.
Since the beginning of April 2008 the driver’s licence candidates in the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg are completing the theoretical driving test at a computer. The old, paper based questionnaire has become obsolete. The way to this new development was prepared by DEKRA in close collaboration with the state authorities and the driving teacher associations concerned. The examination organisation provided the necessary software and 350 computers, each worth 1200 Euros. 
“The Play station generation is coping better than expected with the new computer program”, Dr. Gerd Neumann, manager of DEKRA Automobil in Potsdam, declared. The exam program is very easy to operate. In contrast to the paper based test the program only shows one question and its possible answers at a time. All known 1500 exam questions with their answer options were carried over one-to-one from their paper version into the software. Thus a gradual introduction of this examination method in the whole of Germany is possible, without questioning the equality principle. The computer based theoretical driving test is to be mandatory in all federal states by 2010.
So far 14 000 examinees have answered the question on a computer. Just under 60% of them passed the test on their first attempt. The rate stayed in comparison to the paper based exam. According to a poll conducted amongst the participants, however, the exam atmosphere has improved and the fun factor has increased. The computer based exam brings many advantages for road safety. The driving licence candidates must engage intensely with and really understand the traffic rules. A schematic learning by rote no longer makes any sense as the computer varies the questions with every exam. This is supposed to help lower the number of accidents caused by new drivers. Furthermore, the new medium offers a greater protection against manipulation. The exam can no longer be passed with the help of illegal answer templates. In addition, it is easier to change, replace or if necessary rephrase the exam question if a new legal situation arises. DEKRA invested over 1, 5 million Euros in the project PC- driver’s licence. In comparison the price of the theory exam only rose by about 10 Euros per exam. Fh
In the federal state of Berlin DEKRA exams in cooperation with TÜV, which offers with us the same examination programm.
Dr. Wilhelm Petzholtz 
Project coordinator model region Berlin/Brandenburg