Transport: EU Parliament Committee wants medical checks for drivers

The Transport Committee in the EU Parliament has voted by a narrow majority in favor of regular medical examinations for drivers.

Transport: EU Parliament Committee wants medical checks for drivers

The Transport Committee in the EU Parliament has voted by a narrow majority in favor of regular medical examinations for drivers. “This medical examination will be mandatory when obtaining and also renewing the driving license every 15 years,” said MP Karima Delli, responsible for the issue. This applies to novice drivers, young people, but also older people, said the committee chairwoman.

The new rules are based on a proposal from the EU Commission with the aim of making road traffic safer. Should the Transport Committee's position prevail in upcoming negotiations, people would have to demonstrate that they are physically and mentally capable of driving safely. It's about whether you can still see well enough to drive a car.

But it is unclear whether this will happen. The committee's position is expected to be voted on by the entire EU Parliament in January or February, during which amendments can be submitted. The project will then be finally negotiated with the EU states; changes are also possible here. The EU countries had already decided on their position on Monday and - unlike the committee - did not speak out in favor of mandatory investigations. However, it is becoming apparent both in Parliament and among the EU states that accompanied driving from the age of 17 could become the standard across the EU in the future.

According to EU figures, more than 20,000 people die on the roads in the European Union every year. The number of traffic deaths should actually be halved by 2030. However, developments currently do not indicate that this goal will be met. After a significant decline during the corona pandemic, the number of deaths recently rose again.

The French Green MP Delli originally wanted significantly stricter restrictions, but her plans attracted cross-party criticism. According to the committee chairmen's information, several tightening measures originally planned are off the table. This was about a special category of driving licenses that was to be introduced for heavy cars such as SUVs. According to the information, the possibility that individual EU states could introduce night driving bans for young drivers is no longer up for debate.

How do the German MEPs react?

The health checks are not well received by German MEPs. The FDP politician Jan-Christoph Oetjen sees mandatory examinations as “completely excessive”. In the vote in parliament, the FDP will do everything in its power to ensure that this does not become a reality. His CDU counterpart Jens Gieseke also criticized the tests; both politicians see them as unnecessary bureaucracy. However, Gieseke was pleased in a statement that tractor driving licenses could be recognized across Europe in the future.

The aim is to conclude the negotiations before the European elections next year. As with other directives, Germany must then implement the requirements into national law. There is currently a deadline of three years after the regulation comes into force.

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