EU lawmakers slam brakes on plan for medical exams for all drivers

AFP - [email protected]
EU lawmakers slam brakes on plan for medical exams for all drivers
EU mulls end to lifelong driving licences. Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash

EU lawmakers on Wednesday put the brakes on plans to force drivers to pass medical exams to keep their licences, although they backed bringing in digital permits.


Supporters of medical testing argued it would help cut deaths on the European Union's roads, where currently 20,000 people die each year and another 160,000 are seriously injured.

But instead lawmakers rejected it and left it up to the 27 member states to decide whether to make health check-ups a requirement to keep one's licence.

Currently 14 EU states have compulsory medical exams, including Italy and Portugal, but not France or Germany where the proposal sparked an outcry.

Green lawmaker Karima Delli, who pushed the text through parliament, hit out at what she called "misleading arguments" and "disinformation" on the issue.

Despite France's opposition, she said "a majority of elected French officials" in the parliament supported medical checks, and urged Paris to introduce national rules.

The EU reforms are part of a road safety package aimed at halving deaths and injuries on European roads by 2030.


The parliament will soon enter negotiations on the draft text with EU states, after which the rules will be formally approved and enter into force.

The expectation is that formal adoption will come later this year.

Under the new rules, the EU will introduce bloc-wide digital driving licences, accessible via a smartphone and with the same value as a physical permit.


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Christopher Ley-Wilson 2024/02/29 23:47
In 1957, aged 18, I had to take a reaction test for my Canadian drivers licence in Vancouver. This was in a small cabinet with three foot pedals and a set of traffic lights controlled by a tester. If you delayed hitting the brake pedal on a sporadic red light, you failed the test. This tested concentration and observation as well as reaction, key parts of one's state of health and essential for driving.

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