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Tag ‘drivers’

EU moves to end impunity for dangerous drivers but some media speed to wrong conclusion

Friday, January 27th, 2017

New EU rules adopted by national ministers and the European Parliament mean people can no longer easily avoid paying fines imposed on them for driving dangerously in other EU member states than their own. This EU framework applies to all member states equally. There is no “quirk of EU law” discriminating in some way against British drivers as some UK media claim. If the UK authorities choose not to pursue non-resident offenders, that is up to them. Neither are there any “EU-imposed fines” (The Times) or “hefty EU speeding fines” (Daily Express). Each member state is in full control of its traffic rules and levels of fines or other sanctions.

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Press reports on EC proposals on MOT tests are incorrect

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Reports in the press that the European Commission has proposed to make modifications to cars illegal, or to ban classic cars unless they are unchanged since manufacture are entirely wrong.

The Commission’s proposals would not, if agreed by the Member States and the European Parliament, make any difference to the current situation regarding MOT testing in the UK except to make most classic cars more than 30 years old exempt from testing if they are not used day-to-day on the roads.

All other cars would remain subject to roadworthiness testing, just as they are now. Whether or not they have been modified is not of itself relevant: what counts is whether they are safe and that is what is assessed by MOT tests in the UK and by the equivalent tests elsewhere.

What the proposals will do is require all Member States to bring their road worthiness tests up to a certain level of rigour, already applied in the UK : for example, motorbikes will need to be tested regularly everywhere, as they are already in the UK. This will make driving safer for UK drivers at home and abroad.

The Commission is writing separately to all the newspapers concerned, none of which checked the facts with us before publication.

Wrong driver in the seat

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Daily Express claims “EU says: hammer British drivers”, 2 September 2010

Not true. The source of the story was a study commissioned by the European Commission’s climate action department to explore what emission reduction options were available in the transport sector. As such, the content of the report is the responsibility of contractors, AEA, and does not represent the European Commission’s opinion, recommendations or proposals for specific action.

HGV drivers cannot wear glasses

Thursday, January 18th, 1996

Bespectacled lorry drivers will lose their licence after July 1996, because Brussels says HGV drivers have to pass their eye tests without the aid of glasses and they will not be allowed to wear their glasses whilst driving in case they fall off during a journey or accident.

Birmingham Post, 18 January 1996

The Times, 19 January 1996, p1

The Times, 29 January 1996, p17

Daily Star, 7 February 1996, pp2 & 8

This is absolute nonsense. Some changes have been introduced, but they are minor and certainly do not forbid long or short-sighted drivers from driving with glasses or contact lenses.

The requirements are first and foremost a measure by the Member States’ governments to ensure road safety. With this in mind they agreed to amend the original directive (80/1263/EEC) in 1991, and to set the minimum standards of fitness for driving large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles, as well as establishing mutual recognition of driving licences within the European Union. The second directive on driving licences (91/439/EEC) came into force on 1 July 1996.

Existing licence holders will have to undergo a medical check only when their driving licence is up for renewal. Drivers must re-apply at the age of 45, and then at 5 yearly intervals until the age of 65 and thereafter every year.
It is true that with the earlier directive the few one-eyed HGV drivers (less than 20 in the UK) can no longer drive large vehicles. The other small group of drivers affected is one possessing so-called ‘grandfather rights’. The directive does allow Member States to maintain these rights, but it is generally felt that those drivers whose eyesight fall well below the new standards in either eye, ie they cannot see at least the first line/letter of an optician’s eye chart from 3 metres without glasses or contact lenses, should no longer be driving. This was the view taken by the UK Government in implementing the directive.

To illustrate that this is a fairly low requirement, a person with perfect vision is able to read that line or letter at a distance of 60 metres.

The actual requirements are as follows:

Concerning Group 2 drivers, Annexe III Point 6.3 of the new directive stipulates that: applicants for a driving licence or for the renewal of such a licence must have a visual acuity, with corrective lenses if necessary, of at least 0.8 in the better eye and 0.5 in the worse eye (this corresponds to 6/9 and 6/12 on the Snellen scale). If corrective lenses are used to attain the values of 0.8 and 0.5, the uncorrected vision in each eye must reach 0.05 (ie 3/60 on the Snellen scale). In addition, drivers must have normal binocular field of vision in both eyes and must not suffer from double vision.

The value of 0.05 for the uncorrected sight in each eye was fixed by agreement of the competent national medical authorities of all Member States, to ensure that a driver can handle the vehicle and take preventive measures at all times. Although the standards set are stricter in asking that the minimal acuity in the best eye is raised from 0.75 to 0.8, it is now allows the uncorrected vision to be lowered from 0.1 to 0.05, and so many more drivers will be able to pass the eye test who would otherwise have failed it.

The 1996 Directive requires all drivers to meet the minimum standards and does not provide for transitional periods or derogations from these standards. However, member states may fix stricter standards if they wish.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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