EU gives green light to common driving licence
27 March 2006, BRUSSELS - European Union transport ministers Monday gave the green light to the introduction of a new driving licence which will replace an estimated 110 different documents currently used across the 25-nation bloc.
27 March 2006
BRUSSELS - European Union transport ministers Monday gave the green light to the introduction of a new driving licence which will replace an estimated 110 different documents currently used across the 25-nation bloc.
All motorists in EU countries will have to possess one of the new credit card-style licences by 2032 at the latest. The issuing of new licences will be obligatory as of 2012, ministers agreed.
EU member states can choose whether to include a microchip on the licence to store information about the driver.
Permits will be valid for a maximum of ten years, but national governments can extend that period to 15 years. Licences for lorries and buses will have to be renewed every five years.
Some EU countries such as Germany and Austria currently issue driving licences for life.
Under the new directive, procedures and tests to obtain a driving licence will remain different in each EU member state.
The new model aims at preventing fraud and making security checks easier. In many EU countries, driving licences can also be used as an ID to open a bank account or to book flights.
By setting up an information network between member states, the EU also hopes to crack down on licence tourism, in which people who have had their driving permit taken away in their home country obtain a new one in another member state.
The directive also introduces a driving licence for mopeds. A theoretical test is mandatory, and member states can also impose a practical test.
Truck and bus drivers will have to pass medical checks when renewing their licence, but no regular tests will be imposed on car and motorcycle drivers.
The European Commission and the European Parliament have to give their final approval to the plan but are expected to adopt the bill later this year.
An estimated 60 per cent of EU citizens - 270 million people - hold a valid driving licence.
Subject: German news