EU proposes ‘universal’ digital driver’s license

The European Commission wants to introduce a universal digital driver’s license. It should be accessible on smartphones and other digital devices, and it should be easier to replace or renew someone’s license. Such a digital document, issued nationally, should be recognized throughout Europe.

According to the Commission, youngsters in the EU should be able to obtain their driver’s license from the age of 17 everywhere. There should be a probationary period of at least two years after passing the exam, with zero tolerance for drunk driving.

Vulnerable road users

These suggestions are part of a package of legislative proposals to make driving more attractive for young people, improve road safety, and reduce the number of road deaths in the EU. The Commission wants to introduce new offenses in all member states, such as dangerous parking and overtaking or keeping insufficient distance, to better protect vulnerable road users.

Last year, more than 20 000 people lost their lives in traffic, mainly pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of scooters and motorcycles. Unfortunately, among them, were many young drivers.

And although young motorists represent hardly 8% of all drivers, two out of five fatal accidents on Europe’s roads involve a driver under the age of 30. So it is important to pay more attention to those vulnerable groups during driving lessons.

Cross-border approach

The Commission also pleads for better enforcement of violations. A revoked driver’s license, for instance, should be automatically invalid throughout the European Union.

Finally, the Commission’s proposals should make it easier to punish offenses committed by drivers abroad. In 2019, 40% of cross-border traffic offenses remained unpunished because the perpetrator could not be traced or the fine could not be enforced. In 2019, hardly 200 000 of the 8,2 million payments were enforced.

The directives tabled by the Commission on Wednesday will now move to the Council (member states) and the European Parliament for negotiations.

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