Status: 26/09/2023, 05:06 a.m.
By: Teresa Toth
Despite sharp criticism from politicians and automobile associations, the majority of Germans support stricter driving licence rules for senior citizens. This is shown by a survey.
Frankfurt – The EU is discussing new driving licence guidelines. At the beginning of the year, there were already major changes: For example, thousands of drivers had to exchange their driver's license if it was still in paper format. Further innovations could follow soon. These are primarily aimed at senior citizens. Despite fierce criticism, the majority of Germans seem to support the plans.
EU plans new rules on driving licences for seniors: medical tests would be necessary
After initially announcing a temporary validity of the papers for people aged 70 and over, further proposals are now following. This emerges from a recent draft report by French Green MEP Karima Delli. People over the age of 80 would have to have their driver's license renewed after just two years – after their fitness to drive has been medically and psychologically confirmed.
Appropriate or patronizing? Seniors would have to prove their ability to drive regularly. © Julian Stratenschulte/dpa
However, drivers aged 60 and over would also be affected by the new regulations. The validity of their papers is also to be shortened: by more than half from the current 15 years to seven years. While politicians and automobile associations are shaking their heads at the plans, they are receiving great support from citizens.
Driver's license changes: Some of the respondents would be in favor of tests from the age of 50
The online portal autoscout24.de conducted a representative survey with around 1000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 65. The result was that 86 percent of those surveyed consider regular driving fitness tests in old age to be useful. The majority are in favour of an age limit of 70, as originally envisaged by Parliament. Eight percent even see examinations from the age of 50 as justified.
|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|
It is striking that younger age groups in particular want the temporary driver's license: 94 percent of drivers under the age of 40 are in favor of the tests in old age. Among 40- to 49-year-olds, the figure is 88 percent. On the other hand, respondents between the ages of 50 and 65 are most likely to be completely against a review: 18 percent consider it pointless.
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In other European countries, there are already stricter rules on driving licences
The reason for the high popularity is likely to be the need for more safety in road traffic. Although older road users are considered safe due to their long experience, it is clear that physical and cognitive abilities decline with age – the risk of accidents can increase. For this reason, there are already stricter driving licence rules in other European countries:
- Switzerland: All drivers aged 75 and over are obliged to undergo a medical check-up (test of driving ability) with their family doctor every two years.
- Netherlands: There is also a medical certificate requirement, but it is only checked every five years whether you are still fit enough to drive a car.
- Italy: All people under the age of 50 must undergo a check-up every ten years. From the age of 50, the intervals become shorter. Then you have to renew your driver's license every five years and every three years from the age of 70.
- Spain: The health test is mandatory there from the age of 65, every five years.
- Portugal: A test is ordered from the age of 50, initially every five years. From 70, the period is two years.
- Denmark: From the age of 80, drivers have to undergo a test every year.
- Czechia: From the age of 60, drivers are obliged to be inspected every five years.
Nevertheless, the number of serious accidents in Europe remains high. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destasis), 2021,20 people died in road traffic accidents across the EU in 000, more than 2,500 of them in Germany alone. The EU has therefore set itself the goal of halving the number of road deaths and reducing it to zero by 2050. This is also the reason for the current draft report and the proposals it contains for stricter regulations.
In addition to changes for senior citizens, novice drivers would also be affected by the new driving licence guidelines. Speed limits, a weight limit for vehicles and a ban on driving at night are being discussed. (tt)