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How to improve the driving licence

The European Commission wants to revise the driving licence legislation and asks for feedback. FEMA asks the Commission to shift the focus from technical skills to better risk awareness and the ability to handle unexpected situations.

The European Commission takes the next step to new driving licence legislation and has published a ‘Roadmap’ to a revision of the Directive on driving licences (you can respond here until 21 May 2021). In this roadmap the Commission defines several problems and initiatives the tackle them. FEMA reacted and has sent its views on driving licences to the Commission (you can read FEMA’s full reaction here).

In FEMA’s view, the revision must be used to solve several problems that we have already addressed for a long time. In general, FEMA asks for a change of direction from the present focus on technical skills at low speeds, to higher skills that leads to better risk awareness and preparation to handle unexpected situations. This can be done without raising the threshold to obtain a full A-licence by making different choices and to make it easier to go through the stages from A1 to A.

We also draw attention to the present structure of the Directive regarding training- and test motorcycles, which makes that women and smaller men are still unnecessarily excluded. A change in the demands on trainings- and test motorcycles could change that. Finally, we ask for a further harmonization with respect to trailers and the possibility to ride a light motorcycle with a B-licence in all member states.

Photograph courtesy of

FEMA also states that the consequences of a physical disability can often be overcome by using adapted controls (even in the case of powered two-wheelers); physical disabilities should not necessarily form an obstacle to obtain a driving licence. This also means that it must be possible to follow trainings and tests with a vehicle with adapted controls. The permission given by the authorities of one member state to drive/ride in such a way, must be recognized in other member countries.

FEMA General Secretary Dolf Willigers said: “The revision is a good opportunity to work on driving licence legislation that has a real added value for road safety for motorcyclists and at the same time lowers the threshold. Also, it is an opportunity to solve some minor issues like riding with trailers and riding on a light motorcycle with a car driving licence; riders have asked for this and in the countries where this is already implemented it did not lead to more accidents. Of course, the member states must also look at how they will implement the revised Directive. In several member states the present Directive was implemented quite badly, thus making the threshold too high for new riders. I see new chances on a European and a national level to have better driving licence legislation.”

Top photograph courtesy of KNMV.

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