European Parliament rejects shorter driving licences for senior citizens

The European Parliament does not want to limit the validity of driving licences for older drivers, it announced in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The proposal, which would require over-70s to renew their licences every five years, possibly linked to medical checks, was widely criticized in Belgium last year.

MEPs have now agreed that senior citizens will not have to renew their licences earlier than younger drivers. "This will guarantee their right to free movement and participation in economic and social life," said a press release issued on Wednesday.

Instead, the Parliament leaves the decision up to individual countries. Member states can opt for a medical examination or a self-assessment when issuing or renewing a driving licence. But MEPs do want a framework for cooperation with general practitioners and to raise awareness of physical and mental signs that indicate whether someone is fit to drive.

15 year licence

The European Parliament also agreed on a 0.2 promille blood alcohol limit for inexperienced drivers, the introduction of a digital driving licence on smartphones and that car and motorcycle licences should be valid for at least 15 years.

The driving licence reform is part of a series of proposals put forward by the Commission to facilitate free movement within the EU and improve road safety. Last year alone, more than 20,000 people were killed on European roads.

The legislation still has to be negotiated with member states. The dossier will be transferred to the new European Parliament, which will take office after the elections in June.



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