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EU plan for tougher checks on elderly drivers does not affect Estonia

Traffic on Laagna tee in Tallinn's Lasnamäe District.
Traffic on Laagna tee in Tallinn's Lasnamäe District. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The European Commission wants to increase road safety by tightening rules on older drivers. The Ministry of Climate said that the EU directive will not affect Estonian seniors.

Last week, Estonian media reported that the European Commission wants drivers over 70 to have their licenses examined every five years to decrease road fatalities, a proposal Germany opposed.

"The initial idea was to limit driving license validity to 5 years for drivers over 70 and 15 years for other drivers. Today's text, which member states have mostly accepted, allows member states to shorten the license validity of drivers over 65," Margus Tähepõld, head of transport at the Ministry of Climate, said.

Estonia's position on the European Commission's original proposal was that driving license validity may only be restricted in countries where no medical checks are required. Tähepõld gave the example of Germany, which has no health requirements for drivers.

"We already have it today that if you are above 65, you have to go for check-ups more often; it is normally every 10 years and after the age if 65 it is every five years," Tähepõld explained.

The Commission wants to encourage countries to impose some form of control on elderly drivers, as there are very different national regulations in Europe, Viivian Loonela, head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia, said.

"It is evident that the level of risk on the road grows in tandem with advancing age; about 20 percent of fatalities are among drivers aged 70 and above," Loonela explained.

Loonela said this is only a proposal now and once the directive is adopted, countries will have two years to amend national laws.

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Kristina Kersa

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