WIESBADEN, Germany – Currently more than 30 vehicles are considered abandoned on United States Army Garrison Wiesbaden installations. As defined by Army in Europe Regulation 190-1, abandoned vehicles are those that have been stationary for an extended period (except vehicles in authorized deployment holding lots) and vehicles missing license plates or other evidence of ownership. If a vehicle’s registration expires, the military police immediately investigate to determine if the vehicle is abandoned.
Once a vehicle is identified as possibly abandoned, the plates are removed, and it is tagged with a large neon sticker. This bright sticker warns the owner that they have 24 hours to move the vehicle before impound procedures begin. These procedures include, but are not limited to, attempting contact with the owner, towing and impounding for 120 days. During this time, further attempts to contact the owner are made. The final action is the sale or destruction of the vehicle if the owner doesn’t retrieve it.
Staff Sgt. Xavier Harris, the Traffic Management and Collision Investigation Non Commissioned Officer in Charge explained, “Most of the abandoned cars in our Garrison are beaters.” The term ‘beater’ is typically used to describe older model, less expensive vehicles – which most don’t intend to take with them when they leave. He went on to explain, “A lot of beaters make it through a tour with no issues and last for years. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t as reliable and the repair costs can be astronomical.”
USAG Wiesbaden Command Policy Letter #11 outlines the rules for vehicles and trailers that will be parked for an extended period of time, whether they are in operational condition – or not.
Vehicles in a non-operational status may not park in housing areas or in general parking zones. Violators will be towed at the owner’s expense. Non-operational vehicles may only park in the following areas:
- The Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Auto Skills Center, on North Clay, is the designated non-operational vehicle parking. Vehicles parked there must be registered with the Auto Skills Center and parking is associated with a small fee.
- Your unit motor pool, with the approval of the unit commander and non-operational placard in the window.
- Long-term parking or storage, longer than 7 consecutive days, of vehicles or trailers in operational condition, is only authorized on the top deck of the Clay Kaserne parking garage. This structure is located adjacent to building 1652.
Requests for exception to policy due to mission requirements must be submitted through the Department of Public Works to the garrison commander for consideration.
Staff Sgt. Harris pointed out, “The Vehicle Registration section of the USAG Wiesbaden website has the checklists and forms needed to dispose of or sell a vehicle. We give you the tools to make the process as simple as possible. Abandoning a vehicle may seem like the simplest option but it’s a bad decision for you, your command and the garrison, no matter what condition the vehicle is in.”
Army in Europe Regulation 190-1 is the Driver and Vehicle Requirements and Traffic Code for the U.S. Forces in Germany. “Army in Europe Regulation 190-1 is now punitive and by abandoning your vehicle you risk facing legal and/or administrative adjudication,” emphasized USAG Wiesbaden Police Chief, Jason Kesselring.
Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, Director of Emergency Services, expressed that he realizes the potential challenges of purchasing, owning, maintaining and selling automobiles in Germany. “Our goal is to ensure our community members understand that the processes and proper procedures have to be followed, not only by Soldiers and civilians but by leaders at all levels.”
For detailed information about Driver and Vehicle Requirements and Traffic Code for the U.S. Forces in Germany, please visit https://media.defense.gov/2020/Jun/18/2002317700/-1/-1/0/AER190-1.PDF.
The full context of Command Policy Letter #11 can be found at https://home.army.mil/wiesbaden/application/files/2816/0344/9513/CPL_11_Designated_and_General_Parking.pdf
Please visit the Vehicle Registration section of the USAG Wiesbaden website if you need forms or checklists for vehicle registration, sales, transfer, etc. Vehicle Registration appointments can also be made online at: