The transport ministers of the EU countries want to make European roads safer and introduce new driving license requirements. On Monday they will meet in Brussels so that they can solidify their position and begin the crucial negotiations with the European Parliament.

The rules originally proposed by the EU Commission have already made headlines in Germany, with some fearing that older people will be required to undergo medical checks in the future.

However, it is currently unrealistic for this to happen. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) had already made it clear that he rejected mandatory health checks for seniors. At the same time, the Commission’s proposal gives EU countries freedom and generally allows such mandatory examinations. So national governments have free choice.

The likelihood that the EU states will want to change something and demand compulsory examinations is correspondingly low. In many European countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, examinations are necessary from a certain age, as shown by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) organization from 2021.

New rules for seniors over 70?

However, there could be changes to the Commission proposal in other details. In March, the EU Commission proposed that driving licenses for people over 70 should be renewed every five years. You should either complete a self-assessment of your ability to drive or undergo a medical examination. Theoretically, the validity period and requirements in this regard can be changed.

Accompanied driving and digital driving license

In addition to dealing with older drivers, there are other changes on the agenda. Accompanied driving could become standard across the EU at the age of 17 and also be extended to trucks. A probationary period could also become standard throughout the EU in the future. The EU Commission’s proposals also indicated that, under certain conditions, heavier mobile homes could be driven with a car driving license than before. A digital driving license for mobile phones is also under discussion.

Once the EU states have agreed on a position, the project still has to be negotiated with the European Parliament, which is also involved in the legislation. There could still be some disputes in these negotiations. Karima Delli, the MP responsible for the transport committee, had called for controversial tightening measures.

However, it is currently not foreseeable that the Green politician will prevail with proposals such as mandatory medical checks, significant restrictions for novice drivers or stricter speed limits. Parliament has not yet decided on its position. There will likely be a first test of sentiment on Thursday when Parliament’s Transport Committee votes on the reform of the driving license directive.