EEA EFTA States seek to further strengthen revised Driving Licence Directive

Published 01-12-2023

In a joint EEA EFTA Comment, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway welcome the European Commission’s proposal for a revised Driving Licence Directive, as included in the Road Safety Package from March 2023. They support the ambition of promoting road safety, free movement, and environmental and digital measures to improve the road transport sector.  

In their Comment submitted to the Commission, Council and Parliament on 1 December, the EEA EFTA States highlight the fundamental role that free movement plays in the functioning of the European Economic Area. 

The Commission’s Road Safety Package aims to improve safety for all road users and facilitate the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Within the package, the revised Driving Licence Directive seeks to modernise driving licence rules, including by introducing digital driving licences. Digitalisation will simplify the recognition, replacement, and renewal of driving licences between the Member States. 

The EEA EFTA States encourage the development of digital driving licences, advocating that cross-border use of driving licences will benefit both drivers and authorities, strengthening free movement within the EEA. Furthermore, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein highlight their positive experiences since introducing digital driving licences nationally in 2019, 2020, and 2022, respectively. 

The EEA EFTA States also support the directive’s suggestion to increase the weight limits for alternatively fuelled vehicles in category B for drivers with more than two years of driving experience. Electric cars are often heavier than engines running on fossil fuels, due to their high battery weight. Therefore, the EEA EFTA States support increasing the weight limits to facilitate the increased use of alternatively fuelled vehicles to meet environmental targets. 

The EEA EFTA States support the Commission’s ambition to facilitate driving training at a young age, welcoming and recognising the need for measures that ensure young drivers’ road safety. However, they express concern regarding the inclusion of category C driving licences in the proposed accompanied driving scheme, which would allow the issuance of these driving licences to 17-year-olds. The EEA EFTA States highlight that the added road safety risk of heavy vehicles should be taken into account, and encourage the use of designated educational programmes for category C instead. 

The EEA EFTA States also express their concern regarding the removal of staging requirements for category C and D driving licences. Instead, they support the continuation of a step-by-step model to ensure road safety, whereby obtaining a category C or D driving licence is a prerequisite for obtaining a category CE or DE driving licence. 

Lastly, the EEA EFTA States highlight their support for Section 14 of Annex III to the proposed revised directive, which introduces alcohol interlocks as an alternative to denying the renewal of driving licences for individuals with alcohol use disorders. 

EEA EFTA Comments are one of the tools the EEA EFTA States use to participate in shaping EU policies, programmes and legislation. 

Read the full EEA EFTA Comment here.

A list of past EEA EFTA Comments is available here.

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