EU driving licence 2024:
These amendments are being discussed
Driving licence holders could face many changes in 2024.
EU plans for a revision of the driving licence directive will bring many changes for drivers, specially for novice drivers and seniors.
The EU Commission's draft of a 4th driving licence directive has been available since March 2023. Currently, there is a controversial debate in the Transport Committee of the EU Parliament on the amendment proposals of the rapporteur of the Transport Committee, Karima Delli (Greens). As a reaction to the ambitious proposals, the other political groups have submitted their own amendments to the Commission draft. At the end of the year, a vote will take place in the Transport Committee. The final vote in the EU Parliament is scheduled for early 2024.
Temporal limitation of driving licences for seniors?
New driving licence for SUVs?
Higher minimum age for novice drivers?
Hidden speed limits?
What is the EU Commission proposing?
Which of the rapporteur's proposed amendments have triggered fierce debates?
What do the other political groups in the European Parliament want?
We have summarised the most important amendments:
and medical checks
Car and motorcycle driving licences are valid for 15 years. Member States may limit the period of validity in individual cases. The validity of driving licences for senior citizens having reached the age of 70 is to be limited up to 5 years in order to apply an increased frequency of medical checks or other specific measures, including refresher courses. The EU Commission proposes that drivers must complete a self-assessment or have a medical examination when acquiring and renewing their driving licence. The decision whether to have a self-assessment or a check by a doctor is to be left to the member states.
Instead of 15 years, all driving licenses are to be valid for only 10 years. The Member States have to limit the period of validity. Contrary to the Commission's proposal, the proposed amendment provides for the introduction of time limits for driving licences of holders who have reached the age of 60 years. The driving licences of persons from 60 years of age are to be limited to 7 years, from 70 years of age to 5 years and from 80 years of age to 2 years. Furthermore, the issuing or renewal of driving licences is to be linked to obligatory medical examinations of physical and mental fitness to drive a vehicle.
Most of the other political groups in the EU Parliament reject a temporal limitation solely for reasons of age and the introduction of legally binding medical health checks to verify fitness to drive. Instead, member states should consider feedback interventions and training modules by traffic psychologists, driving examiners or driving instructors, or the use of simulators to refresh driving skills.
higher minimum age
The minimum ages for the different categories of driving licences should be set at European Union level. Currently, member states may lower or the minimum age to take account of national circumstances. While the EU Commission would like to continue to allow member states to lower the age limit, this should no longer be possible according to the proposals of the rapporteur and other political groups.
Minimum age for Category B
You must be at least 16 years old to obtain a category B1 driving licence. B1 is mainly used in France and Italy and is covered by category B in other member states.
The minimum age for issuing a category B/BE driving licence is 18 years. Member States may lower the minimum age for issuing this driving licence to 17 years.
The potential new driving licence category B+ for heavy motor vehicles and pick-ups (SUVs), proposed by the rapporteur could be acquired after a two-year probationary period in driving licence category B and reaching the minimum age of 21. The member states should not be allowed to reduce the minimum age for categories B and BE to 17 years.
Another amendment proposes that member states may reduce the minimum age for categories B and BE to 16 years.
Minimum age for mopeds and motorcycles
A minimum age of 16 years is required for the scooter and moped licence, class AM. Member States may lower the minimum age for this licence category to 14 years or raise it to 18 years. With a category AM driving licence, two-wheeled/three-wheeled motor vehicles with a maximum speed of 45 km/h may be driven.
Those who want to drive with a stronger motor and faster speed need a driving licence of class A1, which in future can also be obtained from the age of 16.
The minimum age for driving licence class A2 is 18. After two years of driving experience, driving licence class A can be acquired from the age of 20. Direct entry for category A is possible from the age of 24.
Rapporteur Karima Delli, head of the European Parliament’s transport committee proposes to raise the minimum age for class A1 to 18 years. In future, Member States should be able to raise the minimum age for categories AM up to 18 years, for category A1 up to 20 years, for category A up to 22 years.
Other political groups in the European Parliament propose to lower the minimum age for obtaining a category AM driving licence to 15 years.
new driving licence
© iStock.com/Nutthaseth Vanchaichana
New weight limit for modern cars
Longer, higher, wider - modern cars are getting heavier due to equipment and battery weight. Up to now, motor vehicles with a maximum total mass of 3500 kg can be driven with a class B driving licence. In future, the weight limit is to be adjusted to the higher weight of modern vehicles.
For vehicles that run on alternative fuels, the maximum permissible mass is to be raised to 4250 kg in the future. Prerequisite: 2 years' possession of a class B driving licence.
In the rapporteur's view, the driving licence class B in its current form is not fully suitable for modern, heavy passenger cars and pick-ups (SUVs). Therefore, a new driving licence class should be introduced for cars and N1- vans weighing more than 1800 kg. Driving licence category B+ should only be available after a two-year probationary period and reaching the minimum age of 21 years as part of the category B driving licence and should apply to vehicles with a maximum permissible mass of up to 3500 kg. Only motor vehicles weighing less than 1800 kg would be allowed to be driven with class B.
The maximum permissible mass for all vehicles that may be driven with a class B driving licence is to be raised to 4250 kg. The introduction of a new driving licence class B+ for heavy motor vehicles is rejected by a majority.
A Europe-wide accompanied driving regulation is to be introduced for certain driving licence categories. Applicants should have the opportunity to obtain licences before reaching the minimum required age. These licences should only be used in the company of an experienced driver. In such cases, Member States should be allowed to impose more stringent conditions and regulations. Currently, accompanied driving regulations only apply nationally. Europe-wide recognition would enable driving across national borders.
The rapporteur and parts of other political groups are against accompanied driving.
For certain categories of driving licences, a system of accompanied driving should be introduced on a voluntary basis. Member States should have the possibility to reduce the minimum age. In future, accompanied driving should also be possible for the truck driving licence.
Night driving bans for novice drivers
The rapporteur's amendment would allow EU Member States to introduce a night driving ban for novice drivers between midnight and 6am.
New rules for probation period
The EU plans to extend the probationary period to every additionally acquired driving license class. Driving licenses of class A2 or A are excluded from this regulation. Drivers who subsequently decide to acquire an additional driving license class will thus undergo an additional probationary period. A zero alcohol limit applies to novice drivers.
EU-wide driving bans
Currently, driving licence suspensions only apply in the country in which the traffic offense was committed.
Often, cross-border offenses even go unpunished.
In the future, driving bans will apply throughout Europe.
Digital driving licence
The newly introduced digital driving licence with a QR code is to be valid across borders and in police stops.
The digital licence will not completely replace the conventional format.
By 2033, all EU citizens will have to exchange their old driving licence for a check-card format driving licence.
Driving licence for E-Scooter
Due to the increasing prevalence of e-scooters and bikes and the high number of related traffic accidents, it is proposed to introduce a class AM driving licence for these micromobility vehicles.
Harmonization of driving education
The standards and minimum requirements for driving tests and licences should be harmonized. The rapporteur advocates that, in addition, the theoretical and practical tests for each class should also be harmonized.