Begleitetes Fahren ab 17 / BF17 (“accompanied driving at the age of 17”) is the official term for getting a probationary driving license at the age of 17. Since those teenagers taking part in BF17 are not yet 18 years old and therefore have not yet reached the legal status of adulthood, they have to be accompanied by a previously designated adult – who is an experienced driver – when driving a car.
First introduced in the federal state of Lower Saxony in 2004 and expanded to German national law in 2011, BF17 is today widely popular among young people, as it enables them to get behind the wheel one year early.
In collaboration with popular German YouTubers, musicians and teenage media outlets, the government-funded campaign “Mach deinen FrÜherschein” seeks to promote the “accompanied driving at the age of 17” model as the smartest and safest way to get behind the wheel. Via an engaging and informative social media strategy as well as through a variety of entertaining on- and offline measures (in German), the campaign raises awareness among teenagers and potential accompanying drivers on the whys, whens and hows of BF17.
Young drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have the highest likelihood of being heavily injured or even killed in a road accident. Due to their young age and lack of experience, teenagers and young adults exhibit a much higher risk of accident than other traffic participants.
The success of BF17 is based on the fact that continuous driving experience demonstrably results in a reduction of accident risk (in German). Since acquiring a basic foundation of routine only comes by driving thousands of kilometres, BF17 gives teenagers the chance to gain up to 12 months of automotive experience under protective and buffered conditions. By driving with the support and positive advice of an accompanying adult over the course of several months, BF17 novice drivers benefit significantly from their mentors’ driving proficiency (in German). They easily learn how to handle dangerous situations and how to adapt to difficult road traffic circumstances, making them better and safer drivers.
Years of model testing have shown that BF17 could make a significant contribution to the reduction of road accidents. For more information on BF17 and accident risk reduction, please visit CIECA and the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).