Status: 30.09.2023, 19:00 p.m.
By: Maximilian Kettenbach
The EU draft on changes to the rules on driving licences is causing a stir. Pensioners and young people are particularly affected. The reactions on the net have a clear thrust.
Munich – Restriction of the validity of driving licences for seniors, speed limit and night driving ban for novice drivers and much more. The EU's new plans have a revolutionary character – and are not only a source of concern for automotive associations or politicians.
The amendment to the Driving Licence Directive planned by Brussels provides for extensive innovations for motorists, which should help to reduce the number of traffic fatalities across the EU to zero by 2050. The draft report was drafted by French Green MEP Karima Delli. Criticism comes mainly from Germany, but what do the plans envisage in detail?
ADAC and VdK criticise EU driving licence plans
People over the age of 60 should only receive their driver's license for a period of seven years. From the age of 70, it would be valid for five years. The driver's license for seniors over the age of 80 is even to lose its validity after two years. Those affected would have to reapply for a driver's license after the deadline has expired – the seniors should also undergo a medical and psychological test. The costs incurred for this would apparently still have to be borne by the people concerned themselves.
Appropriate or patronizing? Seniors would have to prove their ability to drive regularly. © Julian Stratenschulte/dpa
The ADAC criticizes in a statement: "We reject an obligation to check the fitness to drive for certain age groups. Although there may be a loss of performance with increasing age, the risk of accidents for older drivers is not exceptionally high."
With a good 2.2 million members, Germany's largest social association, VdK, also criticizes. "An obligation to refresher courses, based solely on age, borders on age discrimination," says President Verena Bentele at the request of hna.de from IPPEN. MEDIA. Test procedures are only of limited significance. "They ignore the fact that older drivers are generally more experienced and prudent in road traffic. Instead of the planned driving ability tests, more advice and offers on a voluntary basis are needed," says Bentele.
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 then 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.
- Night driving ban and restriction of the maximum speed to 90 km/h for novice drivers.
- 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.
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Greens from Germany oppose EU plans for driving licences
In the meantime, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has called on Karima Delli to "officially withdraw this initiative, which ignores reality". It is clear that Germany will not agree to the proposals in this form.
Germany's Greens also think little of the initiative. Green MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg also criticised her party colleague. "From the very beginning, we as the German Greens have expressed strong concerns from a German point of view," said the transport politician. Via X (formerly Twitter) she reassures: "We are at the very beginning of the parliamentary process."
Driver's license plans: Citizens express concerns on the net
And how do people react to such postings on the net? On X (formerly Twitter) there is a storm of indignation. "They should leave the regulatory frenzy as soon as possible. The mood threatens to change there as well. We certainly have more important issues," one user warns the European Union. Some are worried. "I'm 57. Then I'm excluded at 70," writes one user. Another: "By the way, that fits: Work until 70, but have to complete a driver's license retraining." Another, on the other hand, fears "enormous costs that pensioners themselves will have to pay."
Only a few reassure and draw attention to the many accidents on the roads. "Novice drivers and old people cause the most accidents. Overestimation of one's own abilities is often involved." In fact, the statistics confirm this. At tagesschau.de in March 2023, Siegfried Brockmann, head of accident research at the insurers, explained: In terms of mileage, seniors have a similar accident frequency "as the high-risk group of 18- to 25-year-olds".
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. A number of reforms are probably still needed before the big goal of zero traffic fatalities can be achieved. It is unlikely that the current draft will be adopted in Brussels in this form.