Status: 21/09/2023, 19:09 p.m.
By: Teresa Toth
The guidelines for driving licences may change soon. The EU Parliament is currently debating strict regulations that would also affect senior citizens.
Munich – The EU Parliament is currently working on an amendment to the Driving Licence Directives. Already at the turn of the year 2023, there were some significant changes to driving licences for motorists. This included an exchange obligation for those who still had a paper driver's license. The draft law, which the EU is currently discussing, would mean a significant change, especially for seniors.
EU draft on driving licences: The aim is to significantly reduce the number of accidents
The main reason for the draft law is "Vision Zero", a safety strategy that pursues a clear goal: "No fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic," as the German Road Safety Council explains. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destasis), 2022 people died in road traffic accidents in Germany alone in 2788. The number of injured amounted to 361,134 people.
Against this background, the EU Parliament had already held a debate on stricter regulations for seniors in the course of this year. This is because increasing age can lead to a decrease in responsiveness and mobility, potentially increasing the risk of accidents. Therefore, seniors over the age of 70 will only be issued a driver's license with a validity of five years in the future. This is to ensure regular checks on the ability to drive. Normally, the document is valid for 15 years.
For seniors over 80, the driver's license should only be valid for two years
Following on from this, the EU Parliament is now discussing further regulations, Focus said, referring to a draft report available to the paper. This includes a limited driver's license validity for people over 60 years of age: Their driver's license should only be valid for a period of seven years. According to the draft, even stricter restrictions are envisaged for seniors aged 80 and over. Their driver's licenses will only be valid for two years.
Especially for seniors, a lot could change in the future with regard to the driver's license. (Symbolic image) © Felix Kästle/dpa
At the end of the validity period, a renewal of the driver's license is required. The costs incurred for this must be borne by the elderly people concerned. The issuance of new documents is not merely associated with a new driving test. The EU intends to carry out comprehensive medical and psychological tests to determine the ability to drive.
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Driving licence change for seniors: Federal Transport Minister Wissing has already expressed his disapproval
While similar regulations for older drivers are already firmly established in some neighbouring European countries, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the planned changes will be implemented in Germany. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) had already spoken out against the first draft: "I don't think much of the idea that seniors of a certain age have to undergo a fitness test regularly without any further reason," he underlined. The social association VdK also reacted indignantly to a possible review of the driving ability of seniors.
|Affected age groups||Planned restriction on the validity of the driving licence|
|Seniors aged 60 and over||for seven years|
|Seniors aged 70 and over||for five years|
|Seniors aged 80 and over||for two years|
In Austria, many politicians have also clearly expressed their opposition to the draft. "This must not be implemented in this form in Austria," Peter Kostelka, President of the Austrian Pensioners' Association, is quoted as saying by Austrian Radio. Public transport is also strongly opposed to the proposal. "Our negotiating goal is that at the end of the day there will be a different law on the table than what we have now," said ÖVP MEP Barbara Thaler. (tt)
This article, written by the editors, used machine support. The article was carefully reviewed by editor Teresa Toth before publication.