State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
Motor vehicle laws
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
- Seatbelt use
- Child safety seats
- Motorcycle operation
- The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving
Installation Specific Information
Driving in Germany
Driving in the KMC requires that you pay strict attention to German laws/road signs. The legal driving speed is faster than in the United States. The driving speed may also decrease and increase rapidly, especially on highways called Autobahns. Due to the amount of vehicles traveling there may be congestion. Accidents of course cause additional delays. It is beneficial to keep your radio tuned to the American Forces Network (AFN) for the latest road conditions and traffic updates.
A common vehicle problem is not having two license plates mounted in the front and rear of the vehicle, installing prohibited lights, tires that extend beyond the wheel rim, and failure to maintain tires. Ensure your vehicle will adhere to German guidelines by reviewing the USAFE manual.
Hands Free Devices
Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide.
Seat belts are mandatory at all times. Failure of you, or your passengers, to wear a seatbelt can result in a fine.
Use of child safety restraint systems is mandatory while operating a POV in USAREUR. Germany has authorized the use of Department of Transportation (DOT) approved child restraint systems.
- Infants 2-19 pounds or up to 9 months old, are required to ride rear facing, in the rear seat, in an approved infant carrier.
- Children 19-38 pounds or 9 months to 3 years old, are required to ride in the rear seat in an approved car seat.
- Children 33-79 pounds or 3-11 years old, are required to ride in the rear seat in an approved booster seat.
- Children 12 years of age or older may ride in the front seat.
USAFE has implemented proactive safety efforts to reduce motorcycle mishaps. Before you can operate your motorcycle in Germany, you must first have in your possession a stateside endorsed motorcycle license or host nation equivalent endorsed motorcycle license.
USAFE instructions also require motorcycle riders attend a motorcycle safety course every three years. Our safety office offers a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Experienced Rider's Course (ERC) April through September. If you desire to ride your motorcycle once you arrive but have not received MSF training within the last three years, you are encouraged to attend an MSF course prior to PCSing here in order to avoid any delays in receiving MSF training.
All USAFE units are required to have a Unit Motorcycle Coordinator (UMC). The UMC at your assigned unit here in Germany can assist you with additional requirements your unit may have. The UMC will also be a mentor to all motorcycle operators in the unit. Upon arrival at your unit, contact the UMC for assistance to questions regarding the Ramstein motorcycle program.
Motorcycling in Europe offers a unique opportunity so be assured that you are properly trained and prepared to ride safe during your tour at Ramstein. If you have further questions about motorcycle requirements in USAFE, please feel free to contact any member of the ground safety staff at DSN 314-480-7233.
All vehicles entering Ramstein Air Base are subject to spot checks by the security police. Drug and/or bomb checks are often encountered when entering or leaving local air bases.
Report all accidents on base to the Ramstein Law Enforcement Desk at DSN 314-480-2050 or 0-47-2050. Off base accidents must be reported to the Ramstein Law Enforcement desk AND German authorities if an injury or damage to property is involved.
Ramstein, Kapaun, Sembach, and Miesau Army Depot are restricted to all those not holding a US Military ID, NATO ID, or passport.
Obtaining a Driver's License
REQUIREMENTS TO DRIVE
Drivers MUST have a U.S. Army Europe license to drive in Germany, no exception. An international driver's license is not acceptable, nor can you legally drive a rental car while you wait for your vehicle to arrive without one. Upon arrival, visit the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron Driver Testing Office in Bldg. 2106, Room 201 to submit your driver's license application and receive your USAREUR license. For additional information, call DSN 314-480-0116 or commercial 0-47-0116.
Driving in Germany is a privilege. All personnel assigned to the KMC who require driving privileges:
■ Must take the HQ USAREUR driver's test
■ Must have a valid US driver's license (not provisional or restricted)
■ Must possess the USAREUR driver's permit while operating a USAREUR plated vehicle
■ Must be 17 years old or older
■ Must have a debit or credit card for $10.00 NO CASH
Note: An international driver's license alone is not an acceptable option to operate any USAREUR plated vehicle