The final form of the standards will now be negotiated by the Spanish and, eventually, the Belgian Presidencies with the European Parliament, which will take some time. The new digital driver’s licenses will not actually exist for some time.
“There is no exact date on the table, but I dare to say that we would be able to do it as early as 2025,” said Czech Minister of Transport Kupka. He added that from January 1 next year, drivers in the Czech Republic will no longer need to have a driver’s license with them, but it will be enough for them to have a driver’s license on their mobile phone in an application called e-Dokladovka. “In the future, we expect that the e-Receipt will be fully compatible with the European driver’s license,” added the minister.
The European Commission proposed the introduction of a digital driving license that would be valid throughout the EU this March. As she stated, digitization should facilitate, among other things, the blocking of a driver’s license when a serious traffic offense is committed, for which there is a risk of losing the driver’s license. This does not currently apply across EU countries. It should be easier to present the digital driver’s license at the traffic control, but also to renew or exchange it, because everything will be online.
The European Union would like to be able to track down and punish the perpetrators of traffic offenses throughout its territory. Although it already applies today that drivers also receive fines from other countries, according to the European Commission, up to forty percent of offenses committed by drivers outside their home country remain unpunished.
According to information from ČTK, Austria is very successful in enforcing violations, but according to Minister Kupka, it is impossible to say how the Czech Republic is doing. “This is the responsibility of individual municipal authorities with extended powers, and the state does not have overall statistics on how well individual fines are collected,” said the Czech minister. He added, however, that in the event that the carrier returns to the Czech Republic and the Czech authorities register an offense during his previous stay, the police can intervene, demand bail or even remove the registration plate. According to Kupka, it is a very effective tool to enforce a fine in a given case.
The new directive also stipulates that part of the letter announcing the fine should be in the language of the country to which it is headed, i.e. in Czech for a Czech driver.
“Ensuring faster and better exchange of information about offenses will also lead to greater enforcement. “On Saturday, we experienced a catastrophic situation in the territory of the Czech Republic and we noticed that a number of foreign trucks were breaking the basic road traffic rules,” said Kupka. The new rules could allow for “stronger law enforcement” in the future, he said.
The minister added that at the same time, the Czech Republic strove to ensure that the entire system of monitoring and exchange of cross-border information burdens the administration as little as possible. “In the future, we will rely on national contact points for the transmission of information, which will ensure the delivery of fines in individual states,” explained Kupka. In the Czech Republic, this point of contact, to which the authorities of other states will be able to turn, will be established at the Ministry of Transport.
Currently, it is practically possible to enforce fines only for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. The standard, which was approved by the ministers today, wants to significantly increase the number of traffic violations, including, among other things, failure to maintain a safe distance, dangerous overtaking, dangerous parking, i.e. parking at a pedestrian crossing or obstructing the tram, driving in the opposite direction or overloading a vehicle.
According to Kupka, the Czech Republic will have two new features from January 1, firstly the possibility to drive a car from the age of seventeen under the supervision of a mentor and also the so-called test driver’s license. The proposed European legislation is heading in the same direction. The directive also regulates so-called accompanied driving, when young people will be able to learn to drive a car from the age of 17, but will not be able to drive themselves until they turn 18.
“Our rule (regarding the test driver’s license) says that if a novice driver commits one of the most serious offenses in the first two years, he must complete two types of training within three months,” said Minister Kupka regarding the Czech regulation. One is the retraining of a novice driver at a driving school and the other is a traffic psychology lecture. “The goal is to influence novice drivers not to take unnecessary risks and to be aware of the responsibility for how they move in traffic,” he added.
The subject of senior drivers caused a great debate among the member states, where even the Czech Republic insisted on a medical examination for those who drive a car at an advanced age. For example, in France, there is no such need, the driver’s license is granted for life and without a medical certificate. At the same time, a driver’s license can be suspended for health reasons only in exceptional cases – when the driver himself requests it, or if the local authorities decide to do so based on concerns expressed by relatives or the police. Since the states did not agree, according to ČTK information, the result is a compromise, where it is said that medical examinations are the main ones in the case of senior drivers, but that some member states may have exceptions.