You don't normally get a driving licence that quickly. At the Federal President's Civic Festival in Berlin, it takes barely fifteen minutes at the Mercedes-Benz stand from registration to theory training to the practical test. The MobileKids mascot Moki makes it possible for the girls and boys to hold a driving licence with their own photo and signature in their hands afterwards - and are all smiles. The MobileKids children's traffic school, where the youngsters can drive through a course in small electric vehicles, is the hit at the event in the park of Bellevue Palace. Even though the weather did not cooperate, especially on the first day, and torrential rain even caused an early end, a total of several hundred children between the ages of five and twelve successfully completed the examination on both days. "Safety is one of the core values of our brand and with MobileKids we are making a vital contribution to children in road traffic by giving young road users important guidance in an entertaining and exciting way", says Jörg Heinermann, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales Germany.
Rides in the electric SLK are very popular
The road course of the MobileKids driving school is almost 30 metres long. There is a roundabout, two traffic crossings, traffic lights and road signs. And a bus. There is a zebra crossing right behind it. If there are people standing there, the motorist can only see them very late. Konrad is sitting in the white SLK. He comes from Fulda, is "about nine years old" and fears that he might already be too old for the practice. But despite his size, he fits comfortably in the vehicle. "I've sat on my grandpa's lap before and I can already reach the pedals with my legs", he says beaming, driving licence in hand. Ideally, it will still take "about eight" years to get a real driving licence. But Konrad still learned important rules of behaviour on this day as a driver of the electric SLK, which are already helping him as a pedestrian or cyclist.
Even the Federal President says Willi
Germina is responsible for the theory. She explains the most important traffic signs and rules in front of a video screen in the tent. To make the signs particularly memorable, she chooses simple images. The right-of-way sign resembles a fried egg and the one-way sign "almost looks like a tomato with a white mozzarella strip". And the stop sign is the only one with eight corners. The children nod. Understood. The meaning of the traffic light colours is also not new to most children. Willi sits on a stool and listens attentively. Willi is 49 years old and knows immediately what the white arrow pointing to the right on the round blue sign means. Willi raises his hand. "You don't have to raise your hand, we're not at school", Germina says. The children laugh. Afterwards, Willi starts signing autographs. Allow me to introduce Willi Weitzel. Everyone here knows the star of the successful TV programme "Willi wills wissen" as well as numerous other knowledge programmes especially for children. He sometimes sneaked into the theory class and listened attentively. At other times, he took on the role of teacher himself and explained the most important traffic rules. He is the patron of the event, he says with a smile, and not infrequently carries the umbrella to the children when they get into the vehicles. When he's not doing that, he's always closely surrounded - by children, but also by adults of all ages. For many, he brings back childhood memories and some insecurity. "Mr Willi", says an older lady. They both have to laugh. "Please just Willi", says the star of 180 episodes of "Willi wills wissen". Countless selfies follow. Even the Federal President says Willi to him. When host Frank-Walter Steinmeier stops by the MobileKids driving school, the joy of reunion is great. The two had met in a Willi wills wissen episode at a time when Steinmeier was still Foreign Minister.
"I found Moki instantly very likeable"
"Traffic education is always important, the topic never loses its significance", says Willi in an interview with MobileKids. The fact that he is involved in MobileKids on the two days is a matter of the heart for him. "I saw Moki and instantly found him very likeable. I wanted to work with him", says the father of three, who lives in Bavaria on Lake Ammersee. Road safety education is a responsibility for all adults, but parents and teachers in particular are equally called upon. "MobileKids is an absolutely valuable initiative", says Willi. After all, there are always children coming along who need to be made fit for road traffic. In addition, it is also a matter of permanently preparing the children for changing challenges. For example, various electric vehicles are rushing to the roads, which you can no longer hear that well in traffic. The issue of distraction has become extremely exacerbated by the proliferation of mobile phones. Willi: "We must never tire of addressing these issues and providing road safety education".