Germany toughens under-21 DUI rule
Staff report
Posted : Thursday Jul 26, 2007 18:56:04 EDT

A country known for beer, schnapps and good times is cracking down on teenage drinking and driving.

Germany will activate a new law Aug. 1 that imposes zero-tolerance alcohol restrictions on drivers under age 21, including several thousand U.S. service members and dependents stationed in that country.

Drivers under 21 found to have any level of alcohol in their blood will be subject to a charge of driving under the influence, according to information provided by U.S. Army Europe Headquarters, Heidelberg.

The no-tolerance restrictions also apply to new drivers, regardless of age, who hold two-year probationary German driving licenses.

The standard fine for violations of the new law is $171 at current exchange rates, but can be increased to $240 if property is damaged, according to the Army.

The fines are even stiffer for underage drivers with blood-alcohol levels that reach or exceed the German DUI threshold of .05.

The penalties for a first offense are $344 and potentially a one-month suspension of driving privileges, $688 and a three-month suspension for a second offense, and $1,032 and a three-month suspension for a third.

The new law does not yet apply to U.S. military installations in Germany, according to the U.S. Army Europe Registry of Motor Vehicles.

However, it is common for U.S. military installations to adopt the laws of the host communities, according to the command.