A new proposal put forward by the European Commission which aims to improve road safety and reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents in Europe also includes plans for a digital driving licence, which should make it easier for international drivers to exchange their licence if they relocate to an EU member state. 

New rules should make it easier for expats to drive in the Netherlands

Many expats and internationals arriving in the Netherlands – specifically those who aren’t EU citizens – are frustrated to learn that they’ll have to go through the process of retaking their theory and practical exams in order to acquire a Dutch driving licence, regardless of how long they’ve been driving

While the process can be a lengthy and costly one, the EU is looking for ways to make it easier to transfer driving licences between countries. A recent proposal put forward by the European Commission designed to “modernise driving licence rules”, “improve road safety for all road users” and “facilitate the enforcement of traffic rules across borders” includes plans for a new digital driving licence which is valid throughout the EU. 

Exchanging a non-EU driving licence for an EU one

“To simplify the recognition of driving licences between member states,” the press release reads, “the Commission proposes the introduction of a digital driving licence.” According to the EU, the new system would make it “easier to replace, renew or exchange a driving licence,” as all procedures will be carried out online

The system hasn’t only been designed to benefit EU citizens, however: “In the same vein, it will also be easier for citizens from non-EU countries with comparable road safety standards, to exchange their driving licence for an EU one.”

Furthermore, a new system would allow for an EU-wide driving disqualification when a member state decides to disqualify a driver as a result of a serious offence (i.e. excessive speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) committed on its roads. “Holding road traffic offenders accountable in all member states is essential for road safety,” the Commission explains.

European Commission looking to improve road safety across the bloc

In addition to new rules for exchanging licences, the Commission has also proposed changes to driving licence standards across the bloc, all designed to improve overall road safety in Europe and to reach the EU’s Vision Zero goal (having no deaths on EU roads by 2050). 

These new guidelines – some of which are already in effect across some member states – include enforcing a two-year probationary period and a zero-tolerance rule on drink-driving for new drivers, as well as encouraging drivers to “update their driving skills and knowledge to keep up with technological developments.” 

Furthermore, considering the fact that the majority of traffic victims are pedestrians, cyclists and users of scooters and motorbikes, the EU wants to ensure that driving lessons and exams “better prepare drivers for the presence of vulnerable users on the road.” 

Thumb: Harry Wedzinga via Shutterstock.com.

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