Anyone who wants to have a driving license extended in the future will have to fill out a questionnaire with health questions in accordance with the wishes of the EU states. In the future, such a self-disclosure could be due in Germany every 15 years, as stated by the EU countries on Monday. During negotiations on new driving license rules, the German Ministry of Transport was unable to insist that there should be no such self-disclosure. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) had therefore announced that he would not agree to the project.

The revision of the rules is based on a proposal from the EU Commission that was presented in March. The EU states have now adopted their position on this, with which they want to enter into negotiations with Parliament.

When renewing driving licenses, it should be examined whether the holder is still physically and mentally capable of driving a car or motorcycle. This includes limitations such as poor eyesight, heart disease, epilepsy or alcoholism, which also pose a danger to other people in traffic. However, no doctor has to examine whether your own eyesight or drinking behavior poses a risk. Each country can also choose to only require self-certification.

According to the plans, driving licenses for cars, scooters and motorcycles are valid for 10 to 15 years – stricter rules apply for buses and trucks. At their discretion, each country is also given the opportunity to shorten these times for older drivers. The EU Commission had originally proposed that driving licenses of people over 70 years old should be renewed every five years.

With the revision of the EU driving license rules, there was again a big debate in Germany as to whether older people pose a risk in road traffic. The German Road Safety Council rejects a possible mandatory check of the driving ability of seniors as disproportionate. Older people have a disproportionately low number of accidents compared to their share of the population.

In the opinion of Siegfried Brockmann, head of accident research at the insurer, this line of argument misses the point. In absolute terms, seniors do not pose an excessive risk of accidents. But they would drive a lot less. In terms of mileage, the accident risk of people over 75 years of age is comparable in certain aspects to the high-risk group of very young drivers.

As figures from the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden show on Monday, older drivers are more often to blame than younger drivers when they are involved in accidents that result in personal injury. According to statistics, people aged 65 and over were the main culprits in more than two thirds of these cases (69 percent) last year.

What Germans have been allowed to do since 2011 is setting a precedent across the EU. In other countries, minors could also sit behind the wheel next to parents or other accompanying persons. According to the project, this companion must be at least 24 years old and have had a driving license for at least five years. In addition, she must not have been banned from driving within the past five years. To date, accompanying persons in Germany must be at least 30 years old. There will also be a probationary period throughout the EU in the future.

What is new is that accompanied driving will also be possible for trucks in the future. The EU states are largely following the original proposal of the EU Commission. The FDP MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen called for accompanying driving to be permitted from the age of 16.

The EU states also agreed that in the future there should also be a digital driving license that can be saved on your cell phone. This should be accessible free of charge. According to the Commission proposal, there should still be a physical version of the driving license.

The first proposals from French Green MP Karima Delli were met with clear criticism even from party friends in Germany. For example, she proposed mandatory medical checks, significant restrictions for novice drivers and stricter speed limits. Given the clear cross-party criticism, it is almost impossible that these proposals will be accepted in exactly this way.

However, Delli could prevail in individual aspects. “Unfortunately, there is a majority in the European Parliament’s Transport Committee in favor of the mandatory introduction of medical tests,” said CDU MEP Jens Gieseke on Monday.

Before new rules can come into force, the EU Parliament must decide on a position and then agree on a compromise with the EU states. The Transportation Committee is expected to vote on a position Thursday. The entire Parliament can then vote on a position based on the decision in the Transport Committee and negotiations can begin.

The positioning of the EU states and the Parliament are important steps on the way to new guidelines. The aim is to conclude the negotiations before the European elections next year. As with other directives, Germany must then implement the requirements into national law. The EU states’ proposal currently stipulates a period of three years after the regulation comes into force.