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One Europe: One Driver’s Licence!

  • January 21st, 2013
  • Posted by 7thmin

drivers-licences-eu.jpgCommon Euro drivers’ licences: One more benefit being put forward by the European Commission for the 500-million people of the EU to be under the one top level of government.

Saving the lives of young people on the roads is being given as a prime reason for brinigng in the new plastic permits.


The standardised driving licence, taking the form of a wallet-sized photo card, came in on Saturday, 19.1.13.

It’s being done under a European law, a Directive, with national authorities still responsible for day-by-day issuing, and the information going to a shared database.


It is designed to do away with hopeless irregularity, where in some jurisdictions, even until recent years there was no driving test, and if there was, there was enough petty corruption in the system for the licence to hold no value as a certificate in safety instruction.

It’s seen also as a new block on crime, like identity crime; and medical standards for drivers will also be made clearer, and be in common from country to country.

The Commission also proposes to clarify national rules governing medical examinations.

Likewise getting to drive certain stipulated classes of vehicle will be subject to more exacting tests.


moped-girl.jpg moped-rider-2.jpg  motorcycle-rider-3.jpg motorbike-crash.jpg                                                In that department, the EC says it has recognised an ugly high incidence of accidents involving youth on two wheels; whether on a high-powered motorbike, or on an innocent-looking mo-ped favoured by high school students or old ladies – by tradition, wholly unregulated in many parts of Europe until now.

The following is from the EC statement on the change, called: “New European driving licence for more security, safety and free movement.”

“The new rules will guarantee a true freedom of movement to EU drivers, reinforce safety on European roads and reduce possibilities of fraud.

“About 60% of the Union’s population holds a valid driving licence, around 300 million citizens. A great number of these Europeans make cross-border trips within the Union for private or professional purposes or change country of residence. Today, Europe has more than 110 different driving licence models with different entitlements and validity periods. The new European driving licence will simplify this patchwork and facilitate the mobility of drivers across Europe. Harmonised validity periods and medical examination rules will give more legal certainty for many Europeans who move to another Member State.

“A driving licence not only gives access to all kinds of vehicles in many EU countries it can also be used as an identification document. Therefore, anti-fraud protection is a major cause for concern. The new licence is almost impossible to falsify. It is backed up by a European electronic data exchange system, which will facilitate the management of driving licences by administrations and contribute to better detection of driving licence fraud.

“Driving licence rules also have a great impact on road safety. With more than 30 000 deaths on European roads each year, the new driving licence rules will help to enhance safety on European roads.

“The changes for motorcycles are the most important. By introducing gradual access to motorcycles for young drivers the new European rules will much better protect this vulnerable group of road users …

“To limit the number of different licence models that are in circulation, and to better protect against fraud, the paper driving licence model shall be phased-out. The only European driving licence model to be issued shall be a plastic ‘credit’ card type, already used in most EU countries, which allows for greater protection against forgery. Current paper driving licences will stop being issued from the entry into force of the new legislation …

“A mandatory and regular administrative renewal of driving licences will ensure that all documents in circulation can be updated using the most up-to-date security features. Reducing the number of licence models will ease enforcement, and so will the greater likeness of the holder of the photo on the licence.

“All new licences for mopeds, motorcycles, cars, tricycles and quadricycles shall have a maximum administrative validity of 10 years. However Member States may choose to issue such licences with an administrative validity of up to 15 years.

“All new driving licences for trucks and buses shall have a maximum administrative validity of 5 years …

“With this new compulsory regular renewal of the driving licence document, the last remaining obstacles to the free movement of drivers are abolished.

“With regard to the driving licences issued before the date of application of the current Directive and which are still valid and in circulation, all these driving licences will have to be replaced by a new driving licence at the latest by 2033…”

donkey-ride-mccullagh.jpgCOMMENT: At a cultural level the change may generate some nostalgia for a “pre EU” age, when driving rules might be adapted out of knowing how to handle a coach-and-four, or get by side-saddle on a donkey. However peasant rules have applied awkwardly in the post-war era of the autoroute. (Until the 1980s a Belgian law contended that the carriageway was in a sense the property of vehicle owners, who paid for it, and so by default, pedestrians, as-it-were trespassers, had to cede right of way).


European Commission, Brussels, “New European driving licence for more security, safety and free movement”, MEMO/13/10, 18.1.13., (21.1.13).

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