Status: 23/09/2023, 12:53 p.m.
By: Maximilian Kettenbach
Disgruntled politicians sharply criticize the new driver's license plans from Brussels. Even the Greens are against it. But what exactly does it say?
Munich – The project is enormous, but the road to it is still bumpy. By 2030, the EU wants to halve the number of road deaths in its territory and reduce it to zero by 2050. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destasis), 2022,2 people died in road traffic accidents in Germany alone in 788. The number of injured amounted to 361,134 people.
The amendment to the Driving Licence Directive planned by Brussels provides for extensive innovations for motorists that are intended to contribute to this. But the reactions to the draft report by the French Green MEP Karima Delli, the IPPEN. MEDIA, are acknowledged above all with a shake of the head.
Politicians and automobile associations are angry. The European Automobile Clubs (EAC) described the draft as "disproportionate and patronising". According to the EAC, these are proposed changes that disproportionately restrict novice drivers and senior citizens and have a negative impact on road safety.
Driving licence changes for seniors: EU plans strict regulations
But what is it all about?
After initially debating limiting the validity of papers for people aged 70 and over to five years, there is now a proposal for a further time limit for people aged 60 and over: they should receive their driving licence for a period of seven years. The driver's license for seniors aged 80 and over is only valid for two years. The draft provides for a new application for a driver's license at the end of the deadline – the seniors would also have to undergo a medical and psychological test. The costs incurred for this must be borne by the elderly people concerned.
|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
The ADAC is critical of this and rejects an obligation to check the fitness to drive for certain age groups. Although there could be a loss of performance with increasing age, "the risk of accidents for older drivers is not exceptionally high". The ADAC advocates voluntary supporting elements such as a driving fitness check, according to a statement.
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Driving licence changes for seniors: EU plans strict regulations
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Novice drivers, on the other hand, are threatened with a ban on driving at night and a speed limit of 90 km/h. "Member States may lay down special rules for novice drivers to restrict driving at night from midnight to 6 a.m.," the draft states. And: "In this case, Member States shall lay down penalties for novice drivers with regard to the restriction of driving at night and shall take all necessary measures to ensure their enforcement."
- These other proposals are included in the draft:
- Introduction of a new category of driving licence – category B+ for cars over 1800 kilos. Novice drivers would be allowed to drive at the earliest from 21 cars weighing over 1800 kilos – SUVs would therefore be taboo for the time being. But e-cars also apparently often exceed the weight limit mentioned.
- Young people should be able to get their driving licence at the age of 17 and gain experience through accompanied driving in a uniform manner throughout the EU.
- New probationary period regulation: A new probationary period is to begin with each additional class. So if you are considering getting a motorcycle driver's license in addition to your car driver's license, you will be threatened with another probationary period.
- A Europe-wide digital driver's license (as an app on the smartphone) is to be introduced.
Excitement in the political landscape after draft driver's license from Brussels
There is a great deal of excitement about this in German politics. In the meantime, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has called on Delli to "officially withdraw this initiative, which ignores reality". It is clear that Germany will not agree to the proposals in this form. In order to further improve the safety of novice drivers, Germany is relying on driving licences from the age of 17 and accompanied driving. The introduction of mandatory health tests rejects his house decidedly, said Wissing.
Not even the Greens in Germany support the draft. Green Party leader Omid Nouripour said in the Augsburger Allgemeine: "The ideas mentioned do not reflect the position of the German Greens, nor of the German Greens in the European Parliament." The German Green MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg criticizes her party colleague via X. "From the very beginning, we as the German Greens have expressed strong concerns from a German point of view," said the transport politician.
The transport policy spokesman for the SPD MEPs, Thomas Rudner, sharply criticises: It is contradictory to lower the weight limit for class B car driving licences to 1.8 tonnes, but at the same time 17-year-olds are allowed to drive a 40-tonne truck because there is a lack of truck drivers. "That makes no sense at all and can be life-threatening under certain circumstances!"
"Ban program, nonsense": Politicians rail against EU plans for driver's licenses
Jens Gieseke, a member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), sees the Delli proposals as "a single ban programme". His anger is mainly aimed at the plans of the novice drivers. The fact that there could be night driving bans for them in the future and that they would not be allowed to drive vehicles of more than 1.8 tonnes would mean that even many vans that are used during removals, for example, would then be taboo.
According to information from the EU Parliament, the initiatives are to be voted on in December in the Transport Committee. In the end, the governments of the EU states will also have to agree to new rules. In March 2024, the final vote on the law is to be held in the EU Parliament.