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Experts are asking the EU to reconsider driving license changes and the risky plan to potentially allow 16-year-olds behind the wheel of 2,5-ton SUVs.

The European Union is about to introduce a controversial change to its driving license regulations that would allow young people to drive heavy vehicles at a significantly younger age. Under proposals currently being considered, 17-year-olds would be able to drive trucks and 16-year-olds SUVs weighing up to 2,5 tonnes. These proposals are part of a revision of the EU Driving License Directive, which regulates the standards and procedures for driver training in EU countries.

Currently, candidates must be at least 21 years old to begin truck training, although national governments may lower this age limit to 18 if the candidate passes an initial theory test. About half of the EU countries make use of this option. However, the European Parliament's transport committee is now considering lowering this age limit further to 17 years, provided that these young drivers are accompanied by an adult aged 24 or older.

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EU is considering lowering driving license age, experts are sounding the alarm.

Statistics and studies indicate a higher crash risk among younger drivers. Research by the German Insurance Association shows that young truck drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 are responsible for approximately 25% of accidents compared to the number of driver's license holders in this age group. This risk decreases with age, to approximately 1-2% in older age groups. In addition, it is considered difficult for the accompanying adults to maintain constant vigilance, which can further compromise road safety.

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In addition to the issue of young truck drivers, it is also proposed to allow 16-year-olds with a B1 license to drive vehicles up to 2,5 tonnes, provided the speed is technically limited to 45 km/h. This would allow younger drivers to drive significantly larger vehicles than currently permitted, raising questions about the safety and feasibility of such measures.

The changes to the legislation appear to be aimed at addressing existing issues, such as the shortage of qualified truck drivers and the need to provide mobility solutions to younger drivers in rural areas. However, critics argue that these proposals endanger road safety and suggest that there are better solutions, such as improving working conditions for truck drivers, increasing their salaries, and expanding public transportation and safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

The proposed changes are expected to be put to the vote in the European Parliament plenary at the end of February. In order to ensure road safety for all EU citizens, opponents of the changes are calling on parliamentarians to vote against these amendments and call for policies that are well-considered and safe, free from political interests.

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