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Statement on proposed amendments to EU Driving Licence Directive




STATEMENT


regarding


COM(2023) 127 final


DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on driving licences, amending Directive (EU) 2022/2561 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation (EU) No 383/2012 Driving Licence Directive


Driving Licence Directive


The European Commission's proposed amendments regarding the 3rd Driving Licence Directive entails extensive changes for motorists. Generally, EAC supports the efforts to improve road safety and harmonise traffic rules. However, the latest report, published by rapporteur MEP Karima Delli, contains proposed amendments which should not be implemented for the following reasons:


Minimum age for driving licence categories


Contrary to the proposal of the EU Commission, amendment proposal 13 provides that the member states can exclusively lower the minimum age for driving licence categories set at Union level. Without exceptions, the AM category could no longer be acquired from the age of 15. Since the AM category offers a cheap entry into mobility, especially in rural regions, an increase in the minimum age would have a negative impact on affordable mobility for young people. Raising the minimum age for driving licence class A1 to 18 would have similar negative effects.


Therefore, EAC is in favour of a minimum age below 18 for driving licence categories AM, A1, B L17. In addition, Member States should be allowed to lower or raise the minimum age individually in the future.


The EAC strongly supports plans to introduce category B L 17 at Union level. The minimum age for accompanying driving should not be increased under any circumstances. In our view, accompanying driving is a key factor in the training of safe drivers and thus contributes significantly to increasing road safety. For driving licence classes AM and A1, EAC requests for a minimum age of 16. Driving licence class A2 should be available from the age of 18.

Introduction new driving licence category B+

Amendment 17 proposes for the introduction of a new driving licence category B+ for vehicles weighing more than 1800 kg. The prerequisite for acquisition is to be a probationary period of 2 years within the framework of the class B driving licence.


Requiring new licence holders to drive only vehicles < 1.8 t is a step backwards in terms of driving education for young people. Modern vehicles are becoming heavier due to equipment, batteries and safety devices, but modern safety devices are adapted to the weight of the vehicle. Since novice drivers often use their families' cars (over 1.8 t), the proposed amendment denies them important practice to consolidate their skills. Moreover, the basic assumption that "heavy" cars (SUVs) are more dangerous cannot be statistically proven.


Practice and repetition, regardless of vehicle weight, are more decisive to safe driving than setting subjectively appropriate age limits. Novice drivers learning to drive in vehicles over 1.8 t should be allowed to drive these vehicles without a waiting period of two years.


The EAC does not see any objective justification for the division of class B into heavy/light and therefore rejects the disproportionate amendment proposal.


Temporal limitation of driving licences for seniors


Amendment 98 proposes for the introduction of reduced periods of administrative validity on driving licences of holders, who have reached the age of 60 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.


The majority of EAC members reject a temporal limitation solely for reasons of age and the

introduction of legally binding medical health checks to verify fitness to drive.


Especially in rural regions, older people depend on their driving licences for lack of alternatives to be part in public life in an independent and mobile way. The EAC demands that measures to check fitness to drive should be the responsibility of the Member States. S Instead, voluntary roadworthiness test and accompanying counselling measures should be promoted. EAC also warns that rigid age limits could be circumvented.


The rule must be: Voluntariness before coercion.


Speed limit for novice drivers and motorcyclists


Amendments 50-53 provide for different speed limits for driving licence categories A, A1 and A2. This would lead to the fact that overtaking outside built-up areas in compliance with the respective speed limit would in principle no longer be possible and would provoke risky overtaking.


The EAC advocates against different speed limits for different road users.



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