Road safety by increasing driving skills and knowledge in Directive on driving licence

EASRA experts share the willingness of the European Commission to reinforce road safety by better teaching to drive. Regardless of technological developments in vehicles and the emergence of new forms of mobility, road safety must guide the public authorities in defining new regulations

Easra experts

5/17/20233 min read

EASRA experts welcome the European new initiative, whose aim is to tackle key problems that have been identified in the study on the implementation of the Directive 2006/126/EC in particular those related to updating the current rules and procedures on drivers’ testing and training. They share the willingness of the European Commission to reinforce road safety by better teaching to drive. Regardless of the technological developments in vehicles and the emergence of new forms of mobility, road safety must guide the public authorities in defining new regulations that would reform the use of traffic lanes. The European Commission’s objectives are all, indeed, laudable. However, a balance must be found between strengthening training and maintaining the price of driving licences. For this purpose, EASRA experts and in particular FNA representatives provide the following thoughts and comments.

To Increase safety by reducing dangerous behavior- Public policies often reduce the meaning of “dangerous behavior” to speeding and they fight against this infraction by the generalization of cameras. This approach is very reductive. There are rules, but they are not effective. To this end, dangerous behavior should be legally defined. It is necessary to analyze more objectively motorists’ behavior who directly or indirectly contribute to accidents and to punish them more severely in terms of loss of points of driving licences.

To increase safety by improving driving skills and increasing road safety knowledge

Accompanied driving (AAC) not targeted in the questionnaire

France authorities have implemented this training for many years and it is a success. In 2019, early learning to drive resulted in the issuance of 213,898 B licences (i.e. + 8.5% compared to the previous year).

The proportion of permits issued in AAC represents 24.8% of all B permits issued. The pass rate for the B permit for these candidates is 74.24% (17 points higher than the overall pass rate and 21 points higher than the pass rate excluding AAC). FNA is therefore very favorable to this initiative. This French experience could be followed in Europe.

On the other hand, FNA representatives are opposed to starting training at the age of 15. Only 2 out of 10 students are on average sufficiently ready for this training. They recommend raising the start of training to 16 years old.

Progression between driving licence categories

Young drivers aged 18 to 24 accounted for 18% of road deaths in 2017 and were involved in 32% of accidents. Therefore FNA proposes that during the probationary period of three years (reduced to two if the motorist completes a post-licence course or 1 year and a half when AAC), the type of vehicles driven is limited by a power / weight ratio to city cars for example.

Categories of vehicles (weight and driving licence) – Proposals for a B licence at 4.25 tonnes - The proposal to increase the total laden weight to 4.25 tonnes for B license holders, subject to training, has been a request from FNA representatives for many years, in order to take into consideration the increase in weight of vehicles on the market. This will also facilitate the handling of vehicles by recovery and towing companies

Simplification of access to driving licenses adapted to commercial vehicles (buses, trucks) - FNA is in favor of strengthening the supervision of light commercial veicles (LCVs), which in France and in Europe benefit from a flexible regulatory framework. These vehicles are driven with a B licence for the transport of goods throughout Europe. Simplifying access to heavy vehicle licences is a good initiative. It should be compensated by an overhaul of category licences and in particular C, which would integrate modules from other licences that would then be simplified and post-licence obligations for professionals to be defined (compulsory technical inspection, tougher penalties in the event of breaches of the code road, simplification of mandatory minimum initial training, i.e the French FIMO and the mandatory continuing training, i.e the French FCO).

Training of instructors - Continuous training must take place and be implemented with a pedagogical and psychological approach which should be adapted to today's students, but also to technological developments in vehicles themselves (electrification of the fleet, manipulation of driving assistance systems) to avoid a monitor dropping out effect

Student training - The content of the training can be enriched without impacting the cost of the licence. In this field, driving schools are finding shortcomings in vehicle control. The initial training must be reinforced on its fundamentals, face-to-face or remotely for the code, and additional courses can be planned in post-licence training on broader themes which would allow either to recover points, or to have bonuses from the insurance. FNA representatives are in favor of the proposal for refresher courses on eco-driving and knowledge of vehicle technologies. The accompaniment of seniors is also a track

Practical driving test - FNA is totally against the use of driving simulators during driving licence exams, because the exam must take place in a vehicand in a real situation

Lowering of the age to 18 for D licence - FNA representatives are against lowering the age for reasons of road safety and of people being transported