Status: 29/09/2023, 07:17 a.m.
By: Alina Schröder
Automobile associations criticize the planned changes to the EU driving licence directives. They fear paternalism of the drivers.
Strasbourg – From driving fitness tests in old age to new driving licence class and speed limits: the EU's new driving licence plans are currently making waves. Novice drivers and seniors are particularly affected by the possible changes. While some of the plans in the draft report, initiated by the French Green politician Karima Delli, are largely well received, sharp criticism is inevitable.
EU encounters headwinds with driving licence rules – "disproportionate and patronising"
Politicians are reacting uncomprehendingly to the European Commission's plans – including automobile associations. The European Automobile Clubs (EAC) calls the draft "disproportionate and patronizing" on the whole. This would disproportionately restrict novice drivers and pensioners and negatively affect road traffic.
- The EU's most important proposed changes at a glance:
- Driving fitness test from the age of 70: Driving licences will only be valid for five years from then on
- New driving licence class B+ for heavier passenger cars, such as SUVs
- Speed limits for driving licence classes and a speed limit of 90 km/h for novice drivers
- Night driving bans for novice drivers
Plans in the EU draft: ADAC questions speed limits
The ADAC is also critical of the EU plans. It is expected that well over 1000 membership applications could be received to amend the draft. The automobile club clearly rejects an obligation for so-called fitness checks for seniors aged 70 and over. The risk of accidents among elderly road users is "not exceptionally high," according to a press release.
In addition, the ADAC questions general speed limits. The report stipulates that these should be gradually adapted for each class. This could "help reduce the number of road deaths and the severity of accidents". In 2021, the number of road deaths across the EU was around 20,000. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destasis), 2022,2 people died in Germany alone in 788.
In addition to a limit of 90 km/h for novice drivers, the following limits are being discussed:
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- Class A1: Speed limit of 90 km/h
- Class A2: Speed limit of 100 km/h
- Class A: Speed limit of 110 km/h
- Class B: Speed limit of 110 km/h
- Class B+: Speed limit of 130 km/h
ADAC discusses "speed limit through the back door"
The ADAC expresses the suspicion that a possible speed limit could take place through the back door. "The speed limits provided for in the proposed amendments for the individual driving licence classes for the entire duration of driving licence possession are an issue that, in the opinion of the ADAC, does not require a regulation in the driving licence directive," it says on the website. Moreover, this is more the task of the national legislator – and not the EU.
Will there soon be a speed limit for individual driving licence classes? The EU's Transport Committee wants to discuss this. © Gabriele Hanke/Imago
As far as speed limits on motorways are concerned, Germany's largest automobile club refers to a survey of its members. This shows that 54 percent are in favour in principle, while 41 percent are clearly against it. In recent years, the ADAC has repeatedly conducted surveys on the subject, and approval is therefore steadily increasing. Nevertheless, the topic remains controversial.
The draft amendments to the Driving Licence Directives have been available since March 2023. Politician Delli had recently added further amendments. These will finally be discussed in the Transport Committee in December. (asc)