Road transport opposes key EU legislator’s plan to split the B licence

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IRU, FIA Region I and ACEA unequivocally oppose the splitting of the B driving licence for cars and vans into two categories, as proposed by the European Parliament’s draft report on the EU Driving Licence Directive.

Earlier this year, the European Commission proposed the Road Safety Package to EU legislators, which included amendments to the current directive governing driving licences for all categories of vehicles in the EU.

The Parliament’s rapporteur leading the revision of the Driving Licence Directive proposes to split the B licence into two categories: B licence for vehicles weighing up to 1.8 tonnes and B+ for vehicles between 1.8 and 3.5 tonnes.

In concrete terms, this means that most of the current drivers of electric cars (even compact class battery-electric vehicles weigh over 1.8 tonnes due to the battery), and of larger cars and vans, will be required to obtain a new category of driving licence.

This will affect both private drivers and professional drivers of vans transporting people (taxi services or minibuses) and goods (parcel delivery drivers). Today’s rules provide just one licence category, B, for all vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.

IRU Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “These amendments fail to consider the real-world implications for driving licences, and pose an actual threat to environmental progress, discouraging the uptake of electric vehicles, as well as the realities and good continuation of transport services.”

Additional training and examination to obtain the B+ driving licence would also trigger a financial, administrative and practical burden for all current professional drivers and operators who will need adequate requalification.

“We count on the Parliament’s Transport Committee to support EU citizens, professional drivers and transport companies by rejecting all the newly introduced amendments regarding the B+ category, which artificially and unjustifiably divides the B driving licence into two categories,” concluded Raluca Marian.

Read the letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism.