In its answer to the European Commission Consultation on the ex-post evaluation of the Driving Licence Directive, the ETF Road Transport Section has put professional drivers at the core of its contribution. The Consultation, launched by the European Commission in October 2020 with a deadline of yesterday, collected input to determine if changes to the Directive, which aims to improve road safety and facilitate free movement of citizens across the EU, are necessary.
The ETF welcomes the initiative and underlines in its contribution the need to examine the reality of drivers when considering certain changes and puts forward recommendations that will improve the sector’s level-playing field.
One of the questions explored by the Consultation is that of lowering the age limit of professional drivers. The ETF is of the firm opinion that this will not mitigate the shortage of drivers in the road transport sector. Young people avoid joining the industry due to irregular work schedules, inadequate rest (see recent ETF research on driver fatigue), long periods away from home, and poor pay levels. Only a socially sustainable sector can solve these issues. Until then, the ETF is not in favour of the lowering of the minimum age.
Creating a level playing field between professional drivers from the different EU Member States and those from third countries can help create a socially sustainable sector. The recommendations put forward by the ETF on medical certificates, driving licences issued by third countries, training and extension of rules to light goods vehicles set out a path forward to achieving this. Indeed, all professional drivers, including third-country drivers, must be subject to the same requirements, whether for training, medical certification or obtaining a professional driving license. Additionally, the improvement of these training standards and the inclusion of new technologies and traffic safety education is necessary.
Furthermore, to ensure consistency, road safety and medical fitness of all drivers, the ETF highly recommends that existing rules and driving requirements extend to light goods vehicles which are used more and more frequently in international transport or cabotage operations.
The ETF will be actively participating in the process and will be keeping a close eye on developments.
ETF’s full views on the evaluation of the Directive and its answers to the Consultation can be downloaded at your right.