The European Commission has recently presented proposals aimed at modernizing driving license rules and improving cross-border enforcement of traffic rules throughout the EU. These new proposals include several measures aimed at making roads safer and reducing the number of road deaths.
Introduction of a digital driving license
One of the key elements of these proposals is the introduction of a digital driving license that will be valid throughout the EU. This measure aims to facilitate the recognition of driving licenses between Member States and simplify administrative procedures. In fact, drivers will now be able to replace, renew, or exchange their driving license online, reducing the delays and costs associated with these processes.
Strengthening road safety rules
The new rules aim to strengthen road safety for all road users. The proposed measures include a probationary period of at least two years for novice drivers, a zero tolerance for drunk driving, and an adaptation of driving training and exams to better prepare drivers for the presence of vulnerable users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and users of electric bicycles and scooters.
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Driver training will also be adapted to better prepare drivers for the use of zero-emission vehicles and driving in urban areas, where an increasing number of bikes and other two-wheelers and many pedestrians are present. Young drivers will also be able to gain experience through an accompanied driving regime, starting at the age of 17, which will help to address the current shortage of truck drivers.
Finally, exams will be adapted to better assess knowledge and skills related to advanced driver assistance systems and other automated technologies. Novice drivers will also learn how their driving style affects their emissions.
Strengthening cross-border enforcement of traffic rules
The Commission also proposes to strengthen cross-border enforcement of traffic rules by allowing enforcement authorities to access national driving license registers. The current rules have allowed non-resident offenders of traffic rules to be traced, but there are still around 40% of cross-border offenses committed with impunity.
To address this situation, the Commission also proposes to strengthen the role of the already established national contact points to improve their cooperation with enforcement authorities involved in investigations into offenses. The updated legislation will also ensure the respect of the rights of persons accused of road offenses.
Driving license revocation decisions
Finally, a new system will be put in place to prevent impunity for road offenses. Driving license revocation decisions will have an EU-wide effect when a Member State decides to revoke a driver’s license due to an offense committed on its territory.
This measure aims to bring road offense perpetrators to account in all Member States. Currently, when a serious offense results in a driving license revocation, this cannot be applied EU-wide if the driver committed the offense in a Member State other than the one that issued their driving license.
Serious offenses of the road traffic code, such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and causing death or serious bodily harm as a result of a road offense, will be covered by this measure.
These proposals will now be examined by the European Parliament and the Council as part of the ordinary legislative procedure. If adopted, these new rules will contribute to improving road safety throughout the EU and help achieve the “Vision Zero” goal of zero deaths on EU roads by 2050.
Digital driving license GDPR
The European Commission’s proposal to update driving license requirements and cross-border enforcement of traffic rules is also aligned with EU data protection rules, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the data protection directive in the repressive field.
This means that the proposed provisions aimed at facilitating access to national driving license registers and improving cooperation between enforcement authorities to investigate road offenses must respect data protection principles such as purpose, proportionality, transparency, and data security.
The specific computer portal intended to allow citizens to easily access information on road safety rules must also comply with data protection rules, particularly in terms of informed consent and legitimate processing of personal data.
In addition, recipients of sanction notices must be able to verify the authenticity of these notices, which implies that personal data is handled securely and protected against falsification risks.
In summary, the European Commission’s proposal must comply with European standards on personal data protection while aiming to improve road safety and simplify the daily lives of drivers throughout the EU.