The most striking proposal is aimed at young drivers. According to the Commission, there should be a two-year probationary period for novice drivers. During this period, they would not be allowed to drive faster than 90 kilometers per hour and are prohibited from driving a heavy all-terrain vehicle or SUV.
In addition, the European Commission wants this group not to drive between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekends. The proposed night-time driving ban for young drivers also raises questions about the consequences for young people who work or study at night. It could place an additional burden on those who rely on their vehicles to get to work or educational institutions.
For older drivers, especially those over 70, the Commission proposes a mandatory five-yearly medical test to keep their driver's license. The validity of driving licenses would also be extended from the current 10 years to 15 years, except for drivers aged 70 and over, who would then only be issued a driving license valid for 5 years. While the intention is good, there are ethical questions about ageism and the autonomy of older adults. Furthermore, such measures may lead to an increased administrative burden on medical services, which are already under pressure.
The most controversial proposal could be to limit the speed limit on European motorways to 130 kilometers per hour. This has led to heated debates especially in Germany, where some motorways have no speed limit. Delli also advocates a special driver's license for heavy passenger cars and pick-ups, with a ban on drivers under the age of 21 from driving these vehicles. She says that these vehicles not only take up more space, but also have higher emissions and are more dangerous to pedestrians.
One of the most innovative elements in the proposed regulations is the introduction of digital driving licenses with a QR code. These would allow police officers to immediately check whether a driver's license has been revoked anywhere in Europe. This appears to be a technologically advanced solution to facilitate enforcement. However, this digital switch also raises questions about data protection and privacy.
Although the proposals have yet to be adopted, they underline the urgent need to improve safety on Europe's roads without undermining the vital importance of road transport to the European economy. With this new legislation, the European Union aims to strike a balance between safety and efficiency, in the hope of drastically reducing the number of road casualties.
Road transport is the beating heart of the European Union, the only means of transport connecting the continent from north to south and from east to west. It is crucial to the economy, contributing enormously to gross domestic product. But this essential form of transport comes with a price: it is also the biggest cause of road accidents, serious injuries and premature deaths in Europe. In an attempt to turn this tide, the European Commission has proposed an ambitious package of new traffic rules called Vision zero.