When I took my driving test many years ago in Germany we had to be 18 before we could drive, but there have been changes in the last few years. Lower-Saxony started it seven years ago and since January 2011 is has become law in all of Germany: the possibility of driving at 17!

However, unlike in Britain, they cannot drive alone. Until they are 18 they must have another driver with them in the car. This driver has to be at least 30 years old and in possession of a clean driving licence for at least 5 years. These drivers also need to be mentioned on the young person’s licence. The official term for this is Begleitetes Fahren, ‘accompanied driving’ in English – a new word for your dictionary.

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