KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Summer is in full swing, soccer season starts soon, and the warmer weather is welcoming meet ups with friends at bars and restaurants. Drinking alcohol during the summer months may quench your thirst, but doing so safely and without driving is key to a fun-filled, safe summer.
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs Office, 21st TSC Bundeswehr Liaisons, American Forces Network Europe, and Polizei Kaiserslautern teamed up to educate Soldiers, civilians, family members and local-national employees on the dangers and legalities of riding electronic scooters while impaired by alcohol.
“It is sunny outside and it is warm,” said Kai Fauss, Polizeipraesidium Westpfalz police commissioner. “People are partying and having fun, so we have an increase of DUIs at this time. It is not only Americans it is also Germans, but we do have many Americans that have DUIs.”
In Germany, driving drunk in cars is not the only way to receive a DUI.
“Since an e-scooter is considered a motorized vehicle, the same DUI laws apply to an e-scooter,” said Yon Degen, Polizeipraesidium Westpfalz police commissioner.
According to German law, having a blood alcohol content of .05 will result in a DUI on an e-scooter.
There are two types of violations for a DUI on an e-scooter in Germany: an administrative offense (equivalent to a misdemeanor in the U.S.), and a criminal offense. The type of offense you face is based on your age and blood alcohol content.
“A non-criminal offense will have to have a blood alcohol content between .05 and 1.1 and if you are above 1.1 it is seen as a criminal offense,” said Degen.
If they stop you while intoxicated on an e-scooter, the Polizei will initiate an investigation and the German government will determine the punishment.
“An administrative offense will receive a fine, usually 500 euros, two points Flensburg [point deduction from your driver’s license] and two months you will not be able to drive, and the more that happens, the higher the offense becomes,” said Degen. “A criminal offense receives a monetary fine and you can face jail time up to one year.”
Like driving, when consuming alcohol, community members should avoid e-scooters at all costs.
Building German and American Relationships
This meeting isn’t the last time the two organizations will work together to address community concerns.
“Having a relationship with the Kaiserslautern Polizei will help educate our American military community members and foster good relationships between our local national partners and American military community members,” said Command Sgt. Major Kofie Primus, 21st TSC senior enlisted leader. “Our intention is to keep an open door of communication between us and the Polizei to help address concerns in the community and be good neighbors.”
The organizations plan to meet quarterly to discuss issues in the community. They will work together to create outreach videos to help bridge the gap between German police forces and the Americans.
“We are the police for all citizens to include American forces and their families,” said Bernhard Christian Erfort, Polizei Kaiserslautern spokesperson. “To get a partnership with the armed forces is essential and therefore we would welcome a meeting on a regular basis. We are happy if we can give good advice to the KMC [Kaiserslautern Military Community] to help keep the community safe and protect the American citizens and help prevent crime.”
If you have been drinking and need a safe ride home in the Kaiserslautern Military Community, Soldiers can contact Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving, an Air Force program, to get a ride back to their residence free of cost. The program requests the consumer volunteer one weekend to help others get home.
AADD can be reached at +49 152-5172-3356. They are available Friday and Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.