Motor Industry News
The days of driving quickly on the continent may soon be over, the European Parliament has approved a Transport Commission recommendation that all EU member countries have the same single generic driving licence.
The credit-card sized permits will replace some 110 different versions across the 25-nation European Union. It's estimated that 200 million European citizens hold some form of driving licence, so this will be a huge and costly overhaul.
The new system aims to increase driving standards and reduce fraud, with licences only valid for 15 years before renewal is required. A database of motoring offences will be created to prevent Europeans who have been banned from driving in one country getting a licence in another country.
As the European Parliament has approved the ruling, governments are now obliged to begin creating infrastructure for the scheme to work on national levels. The new permits will start being issued in 2012 with the deadline for a complete changeover set for 2032.
Proposals for a single EU licence have been mentioned since 2003 but were initially prevented by protests from Germany, Poland, Austria and France who did not want to subject their citizens to a renewal every 10 years. The 15 year validity period was agreed as a compromise.