Update of EU driving licence rules to improve road safety 

Press Releases 
  • Mandatory health checks on issuance and renewal of driving licence 
  • Minimum two year probationary period for novice drivers 
  • Update of drivers skills to be better prepared for real driving situations 
  • Driving licences to be uploaded on smartphones 

The Transport Committee backed new EU driving licence rules to improve road safety and embrace the digital transition, including updated validity limits and mandatory health checks.

On Thursday, MEPs on the Transport and Tourism Committee adopted their position on the revision of EU driving licence rules by 22 votes in favour, 21 against and two abstentions. With more than 20,000 lives lost on EU roads every year, MEPs want to make sure the new rules contribute to road safety, in addition to the EU’s green and digital transitions.

Validity and health check

MEPs on the Transport and Tourism Committee agreed that driving licences should be valid at least for 15 years for motorcycles, cars and tractors, and five years for trucks and buses, with some exceptions. They also suggested making health checks mandatory upon the issuance and renewal of a driving licence.

Novice and accompanied drivers

Under the proposed rules, inexperienced drivers would have to undergo a probationary driving period of at least two years during which there would be certain restrictions, such as, stricter penalties for unsafe driving and up to 0,2 g/l alcohol limit while driving.

To mitigate the shortage of professional drivers, MEPs agree to allow 18 year olds to obtain a licence to drive a truck or a bus with up to 16 passengers, provided they hold a certificate of professional competence. If they do not, the age limit is raised to 21. In addition, 17 year olds could also be eligible for a driving licence for trucks if accompanied by an experienced driver.

Up to date skills

Transport MEPs back a proposal to adapt driver training and testing to better prepare drivers for real driving situations and develop their risk awareness, in particular to vulnerable users such as pedestrians, cyclist, and users of e-scooters and e-bikes. Safe phone usage while driving, driving in snow and slippery conditions, blind spot risks, driver-assistance systems, and vehicle use in relation to the environment and emissions should also be part of driver tests.

Mobile driving licence

To support the EU’s single market, MEPs are in favour of giving the possibility for drivers to get a digital driving licence, available on a mobile phone and fully equivalent to the physical driver's licence.


EP rapporteur Karima Delli (Greens, FR) said: “I am delighted that the European Parliament is making road safety its top priority. Our goal is to reach zero road deaths by 2050 and create a stronger system to protect novice drivers against accidents."

Next steps

The draft position on the revision of EU driving rules will possibly be voted on by the full house of the European Parliament in January 2024 plenary session.