Introduction of the optimised practical driving test

Resolution of 6 November 2018 on the basis of the recommendation of the Executive Committee Young Drivers

German Road Safety Council - 2018


At present, the practical driving test (PDT) tests the skills and abilities which enable novice drivers to participate in motorised road traffic. Therefore, the contents of the test and the assessment criteria form an important orientation framework for practical training in driving schools. Learning is mainly carried out for the test. 

In spite of improvements in driver training over the past years, novice drivers still have a disproportionately high risk of accidents. Fundamental further development of the PDT can be an important factor for reducing this risk.

The "Driving Test Optimisation" project by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which was completed in 2005 triggered a research and development process which continued with the TÜV|DEKRA arge tp 21 "Optimisation of the PDT" project which ran until 2008, as well as corresponding feasibility studies, up to the BASt-IFK-TÜV|DEKRA arge tp21 revision project which was completed in 2015, and which has formed the basis of the Optimised Practical Driving Test (OPDT).

While to some extent the present test guideline of the PDT only describes the requirements of the individual driving tasks and the desired behaviour in the form of examples, in a catalogue of driving tasks, the OPDT provides a comprehensive system which combines driving tasks with areas of competence and defines both the necessary steps which are required to cope with these tasks, as well as the associated assessment criteria for these observation categories. The new test is therefore more clearly assessable and the required road safety behaviour can be taught and learned more precisely. 

While up to now the documentation of test results and feedback to the test candidate have been primarily error oriented, the OPDT provides a differentiated and competence-related verbal and written feedback for all (passed and failed) driving tests. This enables a more realistic self-assessment by novice drivers and learner drivers with regard to the need for further practice and development, which prevents over-estimation of their own abilities and eliminates the pressure for perfection. 

While at present, scientific evaluation of the tests and test performances can only be implemented on the basis of events, in future, recording of the driving competence shown in the electronic test report will enable continuous evaluation and further development of the test and therefore targeted adaptation of training, e.g. to changes in traffic conditions or requirements of the candidates. Also, a differentiated comparison of the test with regard to the inclusion of new lesson content and teaching approaches can be made. 

The OPDT must therefore be considered to be a decisive step forward, both for assessment, feedback and evaluability. 

The OPDT involves changed or extended process steps for performance of the test. In particular, observation and documentation of the test drive, assessment of the test (detailed evaluation of driving competence) as well as feedback to the candidate require an extension of the time which is required for the test. This involves a total extra time of ten minutes for the test, of which five minutes involve pure driving time.


The DVR recommends:

  1. Introduction of the OPDT with a catalogue of driving tasks, electronic test report and written feedback for novice drivers,
  2. Modification of the duration of the PDT in order to ensure the extended observation, documentation and feedback in the OPDT, 
  3. Prompt creation of the legal basis for the introduction of the OPDT, in order to give the expert organisations planning security for the training and further training of experts for the implementation of the OPDT and to give all other stakeholders sufficient time for the transition, 
  4. To make the knowledge from the evaluation of the introduction and utilisation of the OPDT publicly available on a regular basis for informed discussion on improvement of the preparation of novice drivers.


Dr. Walter Eichendorf