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Luxury good driving license

Driving licenses are becoming more and more expensive. Costs of 3,500 euros and more are no longer uncommon. And that’s not just due to inflation and increased fuel prices.

When the phone rings at Detlef Mühlast’s driving school in Rehlingen, Saarland, parents of driving students are now often on the line. They want to know when the test will finally come after all the driving lessons.

Mühllast confirms that the fact that learner drivers now take longer to take the test than before is not just a feeling from parents. 40 to 50 driving hours are now a normal value. Some even need more.

Differences between town and country

Twelve special trips are mandatory, of which five are cross-country trips, four are highway trips and three are trips in the dark. How many additional practical hours are necessary depends on the ability of the learner driver.

According to a survey by the ADAC, learner drivers tend to need slightly fewer driving lessons in rural areas than in the city. This is mainly because traffic in rural areas is more pleasant, explains Mühlast. “There aren’t that many intersections, not that many pedestrians or cyclists.” Overall, traffic has increased – and with it the burden on learner drivers.

Biggest cost factor: driving lessons

Since driving lessons are the largest cost factor, large sums are increasingly being incurred. You can now expect between 3,000 and 3,500 euros in Saarland, says Mühlast, who is also chairman of the Saarland state association of driving instructors. It is similar in other federal states.

This is also confirmed by a survey by the ADAC. According to this, 46 percent of those who received their driving license in the last six months paid between 2,500 and 3,500 euros for it. For 22 percent it was even up to 4,500 euros. The share of these large sums has increased continuously over the past four years.

Many are behind the wheel for the first time

The driving schools had to increase the prices, after all everything had become more expensive, says Mühlast. But there is another reason for the sharp increase in costs. It used to be common for parents to practice with their children before their first driving lesson. Today that is no longer the case. “Sometimes someone comes in the ninth driving lesson and asks where to adjust the seat.”

Tim Malsac is a third generation driving instructor. He also observes that his driving students’ prior knowledge is decreasing. Many people sit behind the wheel for the first time in driving school. “I always recommend that my people go to the practice area before their first trip,” says Malsac. “Then things will work better with the driving lessons right from the start.”

Less interested in getting a driver’s license?

The fact that there is less knowledge among student drivers is also due to the fact that young people’s interest in driving licenses is declining. “You used to be proud, and everyone had to have a driver’s license at 18,” remembers Mühlast. Today the priorities are different. Many of his students went to high school and were still involved in a club afterwards. “The day is fully booked.”

But that doesn’t mean he has fewer customers. The demand is still there, partly at the insistence of parents. Because the driving license is still important for the world of work.

High failure rate

The test fees can also increase the price of a driving license. Because if you fail, you have to pay it again. Nationwide, the failure rate in 2022 was around 45 percent. This was the result of an analysis by Allianz Direct of the data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

The trend here is also increasing, says driving instructor Malsac. It is becoming more and more common for learner drivers to fail the test several times. This could quickly add another few hundred euros. The same applies here: If you practice beforehand, you may be able to save.

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