The suspension and withdrawal of driving licences could be effective throughout Europe. The proposal, included in a directive presented in March 2023 by the European Commission, has taken the first step towards final approval. The European Parliament gave the green light, with 372 votes in favour, 220 against and 43 abstentions.
Under the approved text, an offence committed in an EU Member State will be communicated within 10 days to the country that issued the driving licence to the offending driver. The driver will be informed of any penalty within a further 7 days.
How does it work today?
Today, driving licence suspensions only apply in the EU Member State where the offence was committed, at least in most cases. However, Europe is ready to revise its driving rules in order to achieve the "vision zero" objective, that is zero deaths from road accidents by 2050.
Now that it has passed its first examination in Strasbourg, the proposal will have to go through the Council of the European Union and then back to Parliament. More precisely, to the new European Parliament, in view of the call to the polls in June, which will renew the Strasbourg institution.
Speed limits included
The suspension and withdrawal of driving licences throughout Europe is part of a wider package, which includes adding driving without a licence to the list of the most serious offences, such as driving under the influence of alcohol and fatal accidents: in these cases, the automatic exchange of information between States will be triggered
Even exceeding the 30 and 50 km/h speed limits will be included in this list. Rapporteur Peter Vitanov commented:
"I am confident that this directive will not only help to reduce the number of road accidents, but also raise awareness of more responsible driving and the willingness of citizens to abide by the rules and accept the consequences, regardless of where the offences were committed."