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27/04/2015

Road Safety: New EU driving licence code on alcohol interlocks

To improve road safety the European Commission has introduced a harmonised EU code on alcohol interlock devices for driving licences (Commission Directive (EU) 2015/653 of 24 April 2015 amending Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences). The new Directive will enter into force EU-wide on 15 May 2015.

This new code "69" will replace different national codes in use, for programmes where the driver is restricted to drive vehicles that are only equipped with alcohol interlock devices. Such programmes are planned or in use in several Member States, notably to prevent drink-driving offences from re-occurring.

A harmonised EU code will facilitate EU-wide understanding of the restriction as well as enable Member States to enforce it. However it is still for the Member States to decide both whether or not to introduce such programmes and how to enforce the restriction.

In addition to this new code, the Commission has adapted the existing harmonised EU driving licence codes to technical and scientific progress, especially in the field of vehicle adaptations and technical support for drivers with disabilities.

Background information

An alcohol interlock device is a system installed in the vehicle to prevent a driver impaired by alcohol from operating the vehicle. Introduction of a code on such devices has been requested by Member States and recommended in a study.

Several Member States already have such restricted licences, but currently the codes vary between Member States and cannot be understood nor enforced in other Member States. The main purpose of this new code is to facilitate EU-wide understanding and to make it enforceable EU-wide.

It is important to note that this code is only to be used by the Member States who issue licences with this restriction. There are a lot of Member States who do not have alcohol interlocks and thus do not issue licences with such restrictions. They can continue to do so.

For more information

The Directive on Codes - alcohol interlock devices