MEP for Dublin, Barry Andrews, has voiced his strong opposition to the proposed changes to the Driving Licence Directive (2006/126/EC) that would require drivers over the age of 70 to undergo regular medical checks to renew their driving licences. The European Commission’s proposal, aimed at enhancing road safety, has been met with scepticism by Andrews, who argues that it would place an undue burden on both older drivers and the healthcare system.
Addressing the issue, MEP Andrews remarked, “Requiring regular medical examinations for drivers over 70 would not only be a costly endeavour for those renewing their licences but would also burden our already stretched healthcare services.”
MEP Andrews continued: “The current practices across European countries vary concerning licensing procedures for older drivers, with some nations implementing age-based renewal requirements and medical examinations. Research, including a comparison of Finnish and Swedish licensing practices, suggests that age-based mandatory assessments may not necessarily enhance safety and could even have counterproductive outcomes.”
“The European Commission’s push for drivers over the age of 70 to renew their license every five years, through medical testing, is seen by many as age discrimination. There’s a lack of evidence showing that drivers in this age group are more prone to accidents,” Andrews stated, emphasising the need for measures that consider medical conditions rather than age as a determining factor.
Acknowledging the need for road safety measures, Andrews stipulated, “Age discrimination is a serious concern, and any changes in licensing procedures should be based on solid evidence, ensuring the continued safety of our roads without imposing unnecessary burdens on older drivers.” Andrews plans to collaborate with colleagues in the European Parliament to oppose the proposed changes to the Driving License Directive that would involve age discrimination of the elderly.