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New EU ruling on health checks for drivers: What it means for you

Traffic fines in Germany. Mandatory health checks for drivers. There have been ongoing discussions about mandatory health checks for drivers in the EU, with particular emphasis on seniors being required to renew their driving licenses regularly. However, the EU abandoned the idea in early December. Although authorities dropped the proposal for seniors, they left the broader issue of mandatory tests for all drivers unresolved. Now, the European Parliament has reached a decision on the matter.

Mandatory health checks for drivers

The EU Parliament has decided to grant Member States the autonomy to determine whether they wish to implement mandatory regular health checks for drivers. In a vote in Strasbourg, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) agreed to let national governments decide whether driving license holders should undergo tests such as those for hearing and vision. Some EU countries already have existing regulations mandating such medical checks.
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Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has reiterated his opposition to such regulations in Germany, stating, “I believe that state requirements to complete mandatory declarations and issue medical reports regarding driving fitness constitute a huge bureaucratic burden.” He expressed this viewpoint in an interview with the Tagesspiegel newspaper. The Council of EU Member States had already voted in favor of allowing individual countries to decide on mandatory tests back in December. The recent decision by the European Parliament aligns with this approach, granting Member States the authority to make their own determinations on the matter.

Proposed regulation

The shift in regulations stems from the European Commission’s proposal, presented in March of the previous year. According to the proposal, drivers would need to reapply for a driving license every 15 years and undergo a medical examination or provide a health declaration. These suggestions have triggered discussions regarding whether older individuals pose a risk on the roads. Notably, the parliamentary bill no longer includes additional health tests for individuals aged 70 and over.
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These changes have been accepted

Nevertheless, the approved reform incorporates new regulations pertaining to driving tests. In the future, a portion of the test will encompass driving in snowy and icy conditions, the safe use of a mobile phone while driving, and proficiency in handling driver assistance systems. The two-year trial period for these changes will be applicable to new drivers throughout the EU. Additionally, there is a proposal to allow young individuals to obtain a driver’s license at a younger age, whereas the current minimum age in Germany is 21.

Twenty thousand victims per year

The objective of the reform is to enhance road safety and reduce the number of road fatalities by half by the year 2030. According to EU data, over 20,000 individuals lose their lives on European Union roads annually.