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Mandatory medical tests when renewing a driving licence are controversial

Today the plenary session of the European Parliament debated the proposals on the revision of EU driving licence rules.

The most controversial issue turned out to be the proposed mandatory medical test. In the original proposal by the European Commission, Member States may require “an examination applying the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving” when a driving licence has to be renewed; rapporteur Karima Delli MEP, member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, wants to change this into a mandatory medical test every fifteen years that must be implemented by the Member States.

Karima Delli also proposes a probationary period of at least two years for novice drivers. During that period drivers should be subjected to stricter rules and penalties Union-wide when breaking them, for example, due to the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, using unauthorised vehicles, failing to use safety equipment, or driving without a valid driving licence. Enforcement authorities might need to establish a technical zero tolerance threshold for their effective measurements, which should not be higher than 0.2 g/mL, in order to take into account accidental exposure to alcohol.

According to the proposal by the rapporteur, minimum standards concerning access to the profession of examiner and examiner training requirements should be established in order to improve the knowledge and skills of examiners, including hazard perception training, thereby ensuring a more objective evaluation of driving licence applicants. This is something FEMA welcomes; we would like to see a (motorcycle) licence that focusses on higher skills that lead to better risk awareness and preparation to handle unexpected situations, rather than simply focussing on low speed technical skills.

In this debate, where every speaker has only one or two minutes speaking time, no one specifically mentioned motorcycles or other powered two-wheelers.

Rapporteur Karima Delli’s initial report included amendments to the proposal by the European Commission, trying to establish different speed limits for cars and motorcycles ánd differentiated speed limits for holders of A1, A2 and A motorcycle licences, regardless of the general speed limits. This would have meant the absolute maximum allowed speed for drivers under category A1 would not be allowed to exceed 90 km/h, under category A2 100 km/h and under category A 110 km/h. These amendments fell during the vote in the Transport and Tourism Committee and are not part of the final proposal.

The vote on the proposal will take place on Wednesday 28 February 2024.

Written by Wim Taal

Top photograph courtesy of

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