The European Transport Safety Council has welcomed significant changes to EU rules on driving licences and cross-border enforcement of traffic offences.
It says these could significantly reduce injuries and deaths among novice drivers and help ensure that dangerous drivers face penalties for a wider range of traffic offences committed across borders.
Among the legal changes proposed:
- Novice drivers to be subject to a zero-tolerance alcohol limit for a minimum of two years after passing their test. Member States will be encouraged to restrict other high-risk activities during this period such as driving with other youngsters or at night.
- Driver disqualification should apply in future in all EU Member States, not just the country where driving offences were committed.
- Member States will be able to follow-up on seven new road traffic offences committed by non-resident drivers including wrong-way driving and dangerous overtaking.
Graziella Jost, Director of Projects at the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) commented, “New figures released last week showed that road deaths in the EU are not decreasing fast enough to hit the crucial target of halving deaths and serious injuries by 2030. “
“So it’s good to see the EU getting serious about road safety today. Today’s driving license proposals include an important measure to keep novice drivers safer and we hope Member States will also build on these measures.”
“Member States will also now have the power to ensure that a wider range of driving offences committed by non-resident drivers can be followed up across borders. That’s welcome, as is the new possibility for driving disqualifications to apply across the EU. It’s now up to Member States and the European Parliament to ensure this package doesn’t get watered down on the often treacherous road to becoming law.”
Ciaran Cuffe, a Greens/EFA member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said, “Common EU-wide standards for driving licences, training and the implementation of sanctions will create safer roads and protect lives. We welcome these revisions, but much more is needed to progress on road safety in the EU. As acknowledged by the Commission itself, speed limits are one of the best tools for reducing accidents and emissions on our roads and we call again on the Commission to introduce a recommendation on safe speed limits if it really believes in achieving its ‘Vision Zero.’
“There are serious shortcomings in the investigations of cross border infringements. We need much better follow-up on breaches of road safety laws, stronger enforcement of existing rules and greater coordination and mutual recognition between Member States.
“Unfortunately the Commission has failed to extend the cross border enforcement directive to cover low emissions zones. Cities across Europe are calling out for the cross border action on drivers who flout the rules in low emission zones. Low emissions zones are essential to make our cities breathable and they must be respected.”