Driving licences: European Parliament adopted its first reading position

On 28 February, the European Parliament voted in plenary session its report on driving licences. This position, which addresses most of the concerns we have raised, will now be discussed by the Council of the EU.


In March 2023, the European Commission issued a revision of the EU Driving Licences Directive. We were mainly concerned by three provisions

  • The introduction of a digital driving licence by defaults,
  • The mandatory reduction of the administrative validity of the driving licence for people of 70+ to apply an increased frequency of medical checks or other specific measures,
  • A reference to “ageing-linked behaviours” under mental health capacities of the Annex III which contains minimum standards fitness for driving.

Since the release of this proposal, we have been advocating to ensure that the directive will not be discriminatory for older people and will not impose provisions which are not evidence-based and will therefore not help to meet the objective of zero death on EU roads.

Position of the European Parliament on our concerns

  • The limited administrative validity of the driving licence for people aged 70+ has been deleted. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) agreed that all drivers should assess their own fitness to drive when a driving licence is being issued and renewed. They leave it to EU countries to decide if the self-assessment should be replaced by a medical examination with a minimum set of checks, namely on drivers’ eyesight and cardiovascular conditions. However, MEPs want EU governments to put more effort into raising public awareness of mental and physical signals that may put a person at risk when driving.
  • The risk of a mobile driving licence issued by default has been minimized by making sure drivers will still be able to get a physical document.
  • The ageist wording used to describe certain medical conditions has been deleted.

The draft rules on EU driving licences were adopted by 339 votes in favour, 240 against and 37 abstentions, constituting Parliament’s position at first reading. Now the position of the European Parliament will be discussed in the Council and our members will work closely with their allies and ministers at national level.


Julia Wadoux

Policy Manager on Healthy Ageing and Accessibility

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