EU driving licence comes into force

 

An EU driving licence comes into force tomorrow - a credit card-style replacement for the more than 100 different paper and plastic licences currently in use by more than 300 million motorists across the 27 European member states.

The common-format licence for all EU drivers, with improved security protection, is part of a package of new measures proposed by Brussels and approved by EU ministers to improve free movement across borders, crack down on driving licence fraud and improve road safety across the EU.

"Traffic police across Europe are currently expected to recognise more than 100 different types of paper and plastic driving licence" said EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas on the eve of the launch.

"ID photos may be long out of date, the categories for which the driver is licensed unclear and the document may be easy to forge. Fake driving licences are a licence to kill, that is why we need licences which are easy to read, easy to understand and very difficult to falsify."

Existing licences are not affected, but will be changed to the new format at the time of renewal or at the latest by 2033.

The European driving licence, carrying standard-format information recognisable and easy to read by officials in all member states, can also be adapted to incorporate national symbols as decided by each member state.

Security features make it "tamper proof and hard to fake", the Commission says.

One advantage for drivers is less red tape when they move to live in a different EU country, thanks to a European electronic data exchange system between national administrations.

The system also makes it harder for drivers banned in one country to carry on diving undetected in another.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the change was a key step towards making cross-border travel easier and the counterfeiting of driving licences harder.

FIA region director general Jacob Bangsgaard commented: "The new licence will not only make it easier to drive cross-border, it will also help to tackle the problem of drivers banned in one member state trying to get a licence in another country."

The licence change comes with the introduction of new vehicle categories, including the creation of a separate category for mopeds, and a system based on step-by-step access to more powerful bikes based on experience.

Mr Bangsgaard said: "The new categories for motorcycles with standardised minimum ages and progressive access to new categories will help protect some of the most vulnerable users of the road today. The European Commission should now turn its attention to improving the quality of training provided to road users EU-wide, with a special focus on young novice drivers."

The FIA says automatic mutual recognition of driving licences is part of the new arrangement. But non-EU countries will not necessarily recognise the document and an international driving permit (IDP) will still be needed when driving outside the EU.

Driving licence renewal times for mopeds, motorcycles and cars will be either 10 years or 15 years, at the discretion of national authorities.

The changes to driving licences have no impact on current national driving test requirements which vary widely across the member states.

However, basic examiner qualifications will be stepped up in member states where instructor requirements are currently minimal. There are currently no set standards on the training and education of driving examiners, which vary widely throughout the EU.

"In some member states examiners have almost no specific education or do not even hold the driving licence for the category they are examining", explained an FIA statement. "This will no longer be possible. Basic conditions have been set for entering the profession of driving examiners and introduce minimum standards for their initial qualification as well as regular refresher courses."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most