Commission promotes smooth transition to the new European driving licence
Today, the European Commission adopted technical changes to the Directive on driving licences in order to provide more flexibility and a smoother transition to the new driving licence regime. The amendment aims to avoid unnecessary administrative burden to citizens or industry. There are around 300 million European citizens having a driving licence, most of them will be concerned about this new Directive.
Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences will introduce as from 19 January 2013 a single European driving licence model as well as new driving licence categories. Today's amendment covers four areas:
- EU-wide harmonised codes on the driving licence indicate specific entitlements to drive. The amendment updates these codes on the driving licence and takes into account the 'acquired rights' under the previous rules.
- It gives clarification for the driving test on categories C and D vehicles equipped with hybrid or semi-automatic transmission systems. This aims to avoid restrictions for such drivers in the future and to include certain elements related to eco-driving.
- Non-professional drivers of C1 vehicles (i.e. craftsmen, firemen, motorhome drivers) will benefit from lighter testing than professional drivers. This means that non-professional drivers will not be tested on topics related to commercial transport operations, driving and resting time as well as the use of the tachograph.
- It modifies the requirements for the motorcycles used for the practical driving test, taking into account the existing models of motorcycles on the market. This will enable for instance the use of electric motorcycles for the test. The Commission has initiated the necessary to adopt a legal provision by the first quarter of 2013 that gives Member States the possibility to apply some flexibility on the characteristics of test motorcycles until 31 December 2018, thus avoiding economic burden to the training industry.
The Third Driving Licence Directive
Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences will fully enter into force on the 19 January 2013. This means that instead of having over 100 driving licence models, all driving licences issued from 19 January 2013 onwards by Member States shall follow a harmonised EU model, which is in form of a plastic card.
The new card will reduce the possibilities of fraud by introducing security features and administrative validity periods. Category A and B will have an administrative validity between 10 years and 15 years, whereas category C and D have one of 5 years
The new European driving licence will also protect vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for powered two-wheelers. The system of progressive access implies that driving experience with a less powerful motorcycle is required before driving a more powerful one. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)