Major driving law changes may be rolled out across Europe with digital licences and fitness checks

Major driving law changes may be rolled out across Europe with digital licences and fitness checks

WATCH: Five KEY road changes that could affect YOU

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 29/02/2024

- 10:59

Potential rule changes could also see restrictions introduced for younger drivers

The European Union has supported major updates to rules impacting driving licences in a bid to improve safety on the road transport network.

Under new plans agreed by the European Parliament on Wednesday, motorists will be able to upload their driving licences to their smartphones.

In a bid to strengthen the EU’s single market, Members of the European Parliament were supportive of measures to introduce a digital driving licence.

This will allow motorists to have access to their driving licences on their mobile phones, with the digital format being “fully equivalent” to the physical card.

Do you have a story you'd like to share? Get in touch by

European motorway traffic

The rule changes could be analysed further in June


MEPs also agreed that driving licences should be valid for at least 15 years for motorcycles and cars, with truck and bus licences valid for five years.

Despite proposals from the European Commission, MEPs were not supportive of rules to reduce the validity of older drivers and their licences over fears it would be discriminatory.

Drivers are also being relied upon to assess their own fitness with self-assessments for individual countries.

This will allow EU nations to set out medical examinations with a minimum set of checks on eyesight and cardiovascular conditions among others.

Karima Delli, a French MEP for the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, praised the new rules for the impact it will have on road safety.

She added: “Today the European Parliament had an opportunity to improve road safety in Europe and getting closer to reach the goal of zero road deaths by 2050 and create a stronger framework, to protect everyone against road accidents.

“The rules include optional medical checks when a driving licence is issued or renewed and stronger provisions regarding novice drivers."

The new proposals are part of the EU’s Vision Zero objectives which aim to slash all road deaths to zero by 2050.

Currently, more than 20,000 lives are lost every year on EU roads, prompting the Parliament to put forward updated guidance to make driving safer.

Other potential licence changes could include inexperienced drivers undergoing a two-year probationary period with stricter alcohol limits and stricter penalties for unsafe driving.

However, MEPs agreed to allow 18-year-olds to get a truck or bus licence if they hold a certificate of competence to mitigate the driver shortage.

The draft document also states that 17-year-olds should be eligible for a car or truck licence if they are accompanied by an experienced driver.


European driving licence

The EU driving licence could soon be accessed on mobile phones


The draft rules on EU driving licences were adopted by 339 votes in favour, 240 against and 37 abstentions during the first reading.

A follow-up of the new driving licence rules is expected to be addressed by the new European Parliament after elections between June 6 and June 9.

You may like