Status: 23/09/2023, 06:52 a.m.
By: Felina Wellner
In addition to seniors, the new draft driver's license has novice drivers particularly in its sights. Another driving licence class and even SUV rules could affect them in particular.
Munich – The Council and Parliament at EU level have proposed a new category of driving licence – the B+ category. This is an amendment to EU Directive 2022/2561 on the initial qualification and training of motorists. According to the current draft report of the EU Parliament, the driving of SUVs and other vehicles weighing more than 1.8 tonnes is to be more strictly regulated. The two main objectives are:
Upgrade for SUV drivers: That's why the EU wants to introduce a new driving licence class
The European Parliament is currently working on an amendment to some driving licence directives. In addition to the new driving licence class, which is aimed in particular at novice drivers, stricter rules for seniors are also planned. Both measures have one thing in common: stricter regulation of road traffic hazards and thus increase overall safety – in line with the goal of "bringing the number of road deaths to zero by 2050", as set out in the 2020 Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
Heavy passenger cars and off-road vehicles (SUVs) (...) are more likely to be involved in collisions with far more serious consequences in terms of road safety.
Excerpt from the draft report amending Directive (EU) 2022/2561
In addition to this safety aspect, the draft also goes into detail with regard to emission reduction. Heavy passenger cars are bulkier, less energy-efficient and therefore consume more fuel. The Federal Environment Agency has long been calling for price increases for drivers of such emission slingshots – the more difficult access describes another alternative to minimizing SUVs and the like in road traffic.
Who is affected by the new driving licence class?
The amendment to the directive is not intended to primarily affect long-term motorists, as was the case most recently with the exchange period in January. On the contrary, young adults are particularly affected. Before the age of 21, the driving of heavy vehicles could be completely banned. And the SUV driver's license could also be made more difficult for older drivers. This is because, in addition to adapting the "necessary knowledge, skills and behaviour", the draft report also provides for a "minimum requirement for physical and mental fitness" for the B+ driving licence.
New driving licence class? Novice drivers should not be allowed to drive heavy cars à la SUV and Co. (Symbolic image) © IMAGO/Frank Sorge
In addition to most SUVs, some mid-size and high-end cars also weigh more than 1.8 tons. As part of the amendment, making access to greener car alternatives more difficult is highlighted by critics of the proposed driving licence amendments as absurdity. "The proposal fails to recognise the fact that modern vehicles, especially electric cars, are becoming heavier and heavier due to the equipment and weight of the batteries, but that modern safety devices are adapted to the weight of the vehicle," the European Automobile Clubs (EAC) said in its own press release. The general assumption that "heavy" cars are more dangerous cannot be statistically proven either.
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The EU has a population of 448.4 million. The vast majority of people are affected by the plans. The amendment to the driver's license is likely to cause a lot of discussion. The drafts of the individual directives will be debated in Parliament and later in the Member States. Subsequently, they must be transferred into national law.