Alcohol to be banned for new drivers in Germany

No alcohol will be allowed for newly qualified drivers next month in Germany. The country introduces the ban after the measure cleared its final legislative hurdle on Friday.

Starting Aug. 1, there will be a zero blood-alcohol limit for drivers for the first two years after they gain their license. The limit will apply to all drivers aged under 21, regardless of how long they have held their license.

The measure won approval Friday from the upper house of parliament, the last step needed for it to take effect.

Penalties for those flouting the ban will include a fine of up to EUR1,000 (US$1,360), an extension of the probation period from two to four years, mandatory participation in special classes and punitive points on the license.

"Beginner drivers have not yet been sufficiently sensitized to the dangers of alcohol at the wheel," Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said in a statement. "Only a clear signal will help here: driving and drinking are incompatible."