CONCERN ABOUT NEW DRIVING LICENCE DIRECTIVE
June 21 2011.

The transposition process of the 3rd Driving Licence Directive (2006/126/EC) is generating confusion in the European Union. Instead of the envisaged harmonisation Member States are creating an extremely varied regulatory landscape, with negative consequences on the circulation of citizens and on the market of powered two-wheelers.

The Spanish Government adopted the 3rd DLD on 8 December 2009, applying it three years before the legal application dates foreseen by the EU, a clear breach of European licensing directives and causing a disharmonised context. Users obtaining their motorcycle licences in Spain are warned by the government that the document will not be recognised abroad, thus violating the right to free movement enshrined in European legislation.

Furthermore, Spain is currently evaluating an unnecessarily high number of training hours and a test ride of 500 (five hundred!) km for A2 license-holders with two years experience to gain an A licence. Such a measure, at odds with the new directive which foresees training or testing in progressive access (and not both) is also disproportionate for evaluation purposes and will only make it very expensive for candidates to progressively access motorcycling.

ACEM and its Spanish counterpart Anesdor ask Spanish authorities to review the application date of the Directive. Before the lawful adoption of the 3rd Driving Licence Directive the previous licensing scheme should be re-established.

In France, the Committee on road safety (Comité interministériel de la sécurité routière) will ask A-licence holders to permanently validate their licence proving they have actually been using a motorcycle within the last five years by providing insurance certificates. According to ACEM this initiative is worrying and questionable as it is based on the assumption that every rider owns one motorcycle and insures it under his own name. This clearly does not reflect the reality and will lead to the unfair rule of one motorcycle - one user, which obviously is untrue when one vehicle is shared within a household or lent to a friend. Professional users or individuals using company motorcycles insured by the employer will not be in the position to comply. This provision will be difficult to enforce and will have the only consequence of damaging the market. Furthermore, looking at this measure from a European perspective, it raises further questions in terms of validity of the licence outside the national territory.

Clearly the transposition of the new driving licence directive, instead of leading to a more harmonised framework, is giving the opportunity to Member States to create unique situations, not always in line with the text and the spirit of the directive. ACEM calls for a better coordination among policy makers aiming at a common PTW policy where everyone would gain in terms of safety, enforcement and right of movement within the territory of the EU. The European Commission has a fundamental role to play in overseeing the correct transposition of the 3rd DLD.

Jacques Compagne, ACEM Secretary General stated: "ACEM always welcomes measures aimed at improving road safety but it cannot be asked to support ill thought out initiatives that go in the direction of discouraging users to take to PTWs. The application of the 3rd Driving Licence Directive can improve the access of users to PTWs, but adding more illogical provisions to the ones foreseen in the Directive only indicates an effort to oust PTW use instead of seeing it as a real opportunity to make traffic more fluid and reduce travel times and pollution. ACEM expects the European Commission to take its responsibility and address these issues with the Member States."