Driving licensing has two main objectives: to improve road safety and facilitate free movement of citizens via cross-border recognition of driving licences. Directive 91/439/EEC regulates the conditions for issuing driving licences:

  • Necessary to pass a test of knowledge (theory) and a test of skills and behaviour (practical)
  • Required to meet the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness to drive
  • Mandatory to have the normal residence in the Member State issuing the licence
  • Harmonisation of categories of driving licences
  • Minimum ages for driving different types of vehicles
  • Progressive access in categories A, C and D, from light vehicles to more large or powerful vehicles
  • Creation of a Community driving licence model (paper & plastic card)

Driving legislation is not yet harmonised by the Community Law (although the categories are mutually recognised); In 2013 a new Directive will come into force. Adopted in 2006, Directive 2006/126/EC introduces new rules that are expected to reduce fraud and harmonise requirements in all Member States.

The main aspects of are:

  • Only plastic cards with an optional microchip permitted
  • Minimum standards for medical checks on professional drivers established
  • Minimum qualification requirements for driving examiners established
  • Validity of new category A and B licences (automobiles and motorcycles) limited to 10 years
  • Validity of C and D licences (lorries and buses) to be valid for five years maximum
  • A network will be set to allow Members States to exchange information on the licences they have issued, exchanged, replaced, renewed and revoked to prevent people from having more than one licence.