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What German drivers should know about the driving updates for 2024

As the New Year dawns on January 1, 2024, drivers should brace themselves for significant changes. This encompasses updates in driving license regulations, insights into technical inspections, as well as shifts in fuel prices and insurance. Here are important changes affecting drivers in 2024:

Update of Driving Licenses

The ongoing process of exchanging old driving licenses, whether pink or gray paper, persists. Drivers born between 1965 and 1970 are required to replace their current document with a credit card driver’s license by January 19, 2024. Failure to comply will result in a ten-euro fine for those still using the outdated license for identification. It is mandatory to present the new driving license to the police. Notably, the validity of the new driving license is limited to 15 years, with an associated cost of 25 euros.

The use of these winter tires will not be allowed

Starting October 1, 2024, only tires featuring the “Alpin symbol” with a snowflake and a mountain will be officially recognized as winter tires. This requirement extends to all-season tires as well. Consequently, tires solely marked with “M+S” will no longer be permissible for use in winter road conditions.
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Mandatory Adoption of New Support Systems

An extensive array of new assistance systems aims to enhance safety for both the vehicle occupants and other road users. These innovations encompass an advanced automatic emergency braking assistant, emergency lane keeping assistance, intelligent speed assistance (ISA), drowsiness warning/monitoring, reverse assist, turn assist, collision warning, event data recording in case of an accident (black box), emergency brake light, and an expanded head impact protection zone, as reported by 24auto.de.

In accordance with EU Regulation 2019/2144, these assistance systems are required for entirely newly developed (typed) cars starting from July 6, 2022, and will be mandatory for all newly registered cars from July 7, 2024. There is an obligation for current modernization to comply with these standards.
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The European Union (EU) are creating new driving license guidelines
The European Union (EU) are exploring new driving license guidelines

Fresh Funding Round for Wallbox Solar Financing

In September 2023, KfW funding for photovoltaic systems came to an abrupt halt within a few hours. Owners of electric cars had the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to 10,200 euros to install a solar system at home and use it for charging their electric vehicles. The initial 300 million euros allocated for this funding were swiftly depleted in 2023. In 2024, the development bank KfW plans to reintroduce the program with a budget of 200 million euros, though the exact launch date remains undetermined. It is anticipated that the same ‘first come, first served’ rule will be in effect in 2024.

The EU is creating new driving license rules

Ongoing negotiations within the European Union (EU) are exploring new driving license guidelines. Proposed measures include speed limits for novice drivers and assessments for older drivers. While no decisions have been finalized, a resolution may be reached by the conclusion of 2023.
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New classes for motor vehicle insurance

Approximately 13 million car owners in Germany are undergoing a shift in their motor liability insurance type class. Among these, approximately 7.4 million cars have received higher ratings compared to the previous year, while about 5.4 million cars have received lower ratings. The model class remains unchanged for 70% of the vehicles (approximately 29.4 million cars).

While a change in class may impact insurance premiums, it does not necessarily lead to automatic increases or decreases. The vehicle owner’s place of residence is also a pertinent factor, with regional classes reflecting the claims balance in the registration district. Existing contracts typically transition to the new type classes on January 1, 2024, and one can immediately apply them to new contracts.

Euro 5+ standard for motorcycles will take effect on January 1, 2024.
The Euro 5+ standard for motorcycles is set to take effect on January 1, 2024.

Changes for motorcycles in 2024

The Euro 5+ standard for motorcycles is set to take effect on January 1, 2024. Encouragingly, the shift from Euro 5 does not pose a significant challenge for manufacturers. As a result, unlike two years ago, manufacturers will not discontinue several popular models from the lineup due to non-compliance with the new standard.

Support for electric cars is decreasing

In 2023, electric car funding decreases, and subsidies for company cars are eliminated in September. From January 1, 2024, the federal government will award individuals with €3,000 in funding for electric vehicles, supplemented by an additional €1,500 from manufacturers. The timing of the financing application, contingent on vehicle registration, is crucial. The financing fund is expected to be reduced to €810 million.

Potential rise in fuel prices due to increased CO2 tax

From January, the upcoming phase of the CO2 tax will be implemented, increasing it from 30 to 40 euros per ton. The Foreign Trade Association for Petroleum and Energy foresees an average rise of about three cents per liter for both petrol and diesel for motorists.