EU revolution: In future, pensioners will have to prove from the age of 70 that they can still drive a car


Source: pixabay/jonathanjudmaier

EU revolution: In future, pensioners will have to prove from the age of 70 that they can still drive a car
The European Union has the long-term goal of having no more traffic fatalities in the EU by 2050. As an interim step, the number of traffic fatalities is to be halved by 2030. In 2022, 20,600 people died in traffic accidents. To achieve this goal, the EU is planning a driver's license reform to increase road safety. In addition to the introduction of a digital driver's license, the roadworthiness of drivers over 70 is to be checked every 5 years in the future.

Based on the European Commission's draft legislation, the terms of driving licenses are to be changed. In principle, they would then be valid for 15 years throughout the EU, instead of the current 10 years. However, an exception is to apply to people over 70. For them, driver's licenses would only be valid for 5 years, so that the driving ability of seniors can be checked regularly.

Exactly how this examination will take place is to be left to the discretion of the member states, so it could also be sufficient for the driver to self-certify that he or she is still capable of driving a passenger car safely on the road. However, the draft law also clarifies that member states can order a medical examination if it becomes clear during the processing of the formalities that the driver no longer meets medical standards.  These are, for example, that drivers with glasses or contact lenses must have at least 0.5 visual acuity.

Up to now, there are countries in the EU, such as Germany, where there are no basic checks on fitness to drive from a certain age. On the other hand, countries such as Switzerland, Spain or Denmark already check fitness to drive from a certain age at regular intervals.

The ADAC, meanwhile, takes a critical view of the planned measure. It considers general checks from a certain age to be disproportionate and unsuitable for increasing road safety, as the risk of accidents among older road users is not exceptionally high. In addition, the test procedures developed to date for checking fitness to drive are unsuitable, so there is a risk that suitable drivers will be mistakenly classified as unsuitable. And finally, a positive test result can also lead to an overestimation of one's own abilities.

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