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FIA welcomes current progress on harmonising driver licenses

Publication date: 27 March 2006

As the voice of Europe’s motoring consumers, representing over forty million motorists in Europe, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) believes that the European Council’s political agreement is an important step forward.


“With the administrative renewal issue more or less resolved the road is clear to bringing a single EU licence model replacing the more than 110 models currently in circulation. This has to be good for mobile consumers and road safety!” says Caroline Ofoegbu, EU affairs Director at the FIA European Bureau.


The FIA welcomes in particular:
• the inclusion of car and trailer combinations with a maximum authorised mass of up to 4.25 t for use with a category B car driving licence
• the introduction of a plastic card licence with more identity features
• the guarantee of the acquired rights
• that older drivers will not be singled out for discrimination
• the possibility given to member states to introduce probationary licences for novice drivers. The Austrian experience shows that multi-phase has led to a 10 % reduction in accidents and a 31% reduction in fatalities within this group
• the introduction of minimum requirements for the qualification of driving examiners
• the principle “one holder, one licence”, preventing “driving licence” tourism amongst those who have already had their driving licences withdrawn in another member state
• the introduction of the new category AM for mopeds with a maximum speed of 45 km/h and a displacement not exceeding 50 cm³ for drivers with a minimum age of 16 years combined to the progressive access to the more powerful motorcycles
• the widening of the category A2 restricting the access to motorcycles exceeding 35 kW for novice drivers


In the interest of motoring consumers the FIA regrets, however, that the opportunity has not been seized to find satisfactory solutions to the following issues:
• driving motor homes with a maximum authorised mass of up to 4.25 t using a category B driving license as it will be the case for car and trailer combinations
• the inclusion of “micro cars” – i.e. lightweight cars with a moped motor (maximum of 45 km/h and 50 cm³) under the new moped licence class AM
• better harmonisation of traffic laws in Europe coupled with better cross-border access to justice for citizens as a precursor to tougher enforcement of traffic offences EU wide
• the access to high quality, detailed and harmonised road accident statistics
• Given the global use of driving licences, the title of the licence should be written not only in the language of the issuing country but also states in English “Driving Licence”  to facilitate global recognition of the document
• Moreover, the EU Licence could have been used to validate international driving permits for holders
•  mutual recognition of acquired rights that have been introduced in accordance with the 2nd directive but which were not chosen in all member states (e.g. driving licences for category B with 17 years, driving 125 cc motorcycles with licence category B plus special education,...)
• harmonising the acquisition and withdrawal of national driving licences as a means of reducing negative cross border consequences;
• Standardising the examination of fitness of vehicle drivers.
• the introduction of post license driver training making a real contribution to road safety in line with the stated policy objectives of this Directive and lifelong learning which is wholeheartedly supported by the automobile clubs
• the inclusion of defensive driving skills (e.g. eco-driving) into theoretical and practical driver training at all stages as well as knowledge about how to drive correctly in various situations like going through major tunnels


For more information please contact Ms Caroline Ofoegbu the FIA European Bureau

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