Driving licenses for seniors: EU rejects idea of ​​medical examination for withdrawal

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Senior driver

Europe has not ruled on the health exam for senior drivers

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It's no secret that with age, our abilities diminish. Reactions become a little slower, eyesight declines and sometimes attention too. Therefore, with each road accident involving an elderly person, the debate resurfaces and some associations or individuals demand that our seniors be subject to a regular medical examination authorizing them, or not, to take the road.

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At the beginning of the month, an octogenarian driver revived the subject after sadly crashing into a group of children on bikes on a school outing. However, in France the driving license is valid for life, and the same is true in Europe.

Europe does not speak out

The subject had been raised at EU level, but the European Parliament rejected the introduction of a medical examination every 15 years for driving license holders, upon obtaining one. A measure which targeted, without saying it, the elderly.

De facto, the lifetime license remains the rule in France and Europe, unless each country decides otherwise. Indeed, the members of the Union are invited to decide “internally” on the subject. In France, it’s already done!

A bill had been tabled so that seniors would have to undergo a regular medical examination in order to preserve their precious key, a vector of independence. The Minister of Transport at the time, Clément Beaune, quickly rejected the proposal and it has been the status quo on the subject ever since.

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Some of our European neighbors have made the opposite choice. In Italy, an examination must be done from the age of 50, while in Spain, the Czech Republic and Greece, it is from the age of 65. Finland and Denmark leave a little more leeway (70 years) and the Netherlands are those who wait the longest (75 years).

Driving license

The European Union lets each member state act as it wishes.

© Shutterstock

The hardest are the Portuguese, since the exams must take place at certain ages, starting at 40, then at 50, 65 and 75 and then every two years.

In Lithuania, Hungary and our Belgian neighbours, the validity period of the licence is ten years and its renewal must be accompanied by a certificate of aptitude.
All the other countries in the Union operate in the same way as France, with a driving license valid for life, as long as you don't lose all your points, of course.

Some reminders

While it is logical that accidents among seniors can be of concern, let us remember that those over 75 do not have more accidents than the 18 – 24 year old age group. The government has also lowered the age of access to 17, which should make this age a little more accident-prone, unfortunately. However, no one demands that young people have to take regular exams.

Finally, we can only advise, all the same, either to take refresher courses or to have health examinations, especially regarding eyesight, during one's life as a motorist, a fortiori by taking 'age.

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