digital driving licence

Why Europe wants a digital driving licence

The European Union has put forth a proposal to digitize and standardize driving licenses in Europe. The objective is to simplify the enforcement of traffic violations throughout the EU.

The European Commission has proposed a plan to introduce a digital driving license, aiming to harmonize and simplify the recognition of official documents between member countries within the EU. This move is intended to make it easier to enforce traffic laws and crack down on traffic offenses across Europe. The introduction of a digital driving license will be a major undertaking that requires significant effort to harmonize national IT systems. It is being touted as a world first in digitalizing official documents.

According to the Commission, the introduction of a digital driving licence will simplify online procedures, making it easier and faster for EU citizens to replace, renew, or exchange their driving licence. In addition, individuals from non-EU countries with equivalent safety standards will be able to exchange their driving licence for a recognised document in the EU. However, European drivers will still be permitted to hold a physical licence alongside their entry in the EU’s digital registry.

Simplifying Traffic Offences for European Motorists

The goal of the proposed digital driving licence in the EU is;

  • to enhance the sharing of information between member states,
  • to improve the enforcement of traffic offences committed by European citizens across borders.

The Commission has revealed that in 2019, about 40% of cross-border traffic offences went unpunished due to the offender’s identification challenges or the non-enforcement of fine payments.

Although current legislation permits member countries to address the most severe violations committed by European drivers in their territory, there are still disparities in collaboration between nations. To address this, the Commission intends to include additional offences, such as unsafe distance keeping, dangerous overtaking, disregarding red lights, driving in the wrong direction, and overloading vehicles, in the list of crimes that can be penalized throughout the EU. This roster already encompasses driving while intoxicated and using drugs.

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In addition, a new mechanism for enforcing EU-wide driving disqualifications will accompany the digital license. This will enable the withdrawal of a driver’s license in all EU countries if they commit a severe offence. An online portal will also be established to help drivers learn about road safety regulations in each member state and pay fines imposed abroad directly.

The “Vision Zero” plan, which seeks to eliminate road deaths by 2050 and reduce fatalities by half by 2030, includes the proposal for a digital driving licence. This plan will be reviewed by the European Parliament and Council.

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