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Vote beyond myths: Back EU transport committee’s pragmatic licence position




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Young professional drivers in the EU have been the target of a misguided safety campaign. The European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) provides concrete steps to address the EU’s youth unemployment and driver shortage while carefully considering and addressing road safety aspects. Its vision should be endorsed by the plenary. 

Amid the ongoing revision of the EU Driving Licence Directive, it is important to distinguish fact from fiction in counteracting the myth that all young professional drivers are unsafe on Europe’s roads.

Ahead of a crucial plenary vote on the Directive that could address an important challenge for the road transport sector, driver shortages, IRU provided members of the European Parliament with facts and figures demystifying the bias being currently directed towards young professional drivers by certain groups and called for unbiased, pragmatic solutions.

As proposed by TRAN, the revised Driving Licence Directive should:

  • Confirm 18 years old as the rule for professional truck drivers, for both national and international operations,
  • Confirm 21 years old as the rule for professional bus and coach drivers while also recognising Member States' ability to lower the driving age below 21 for all types of services, including those longer than 50km, and
  • Enable trained young people to access professional driver training immediately after school graduation by allowing 17-year-olds to benefit from accompanied driver training alongside an experienced driver.

IRU EU Director of Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “The EU’s youth have been the target of a fallacious safety campaign.

“IRU would like to bring particular attention to the bias being directed towards young professional drivers on the pretext of safety deficiencies.

“Young professional drivers and young drivers are not the same thing. Professional drivers drive to earn their living. They are fully motivated and trained for hundreds of hours to drive prudently to maintain their livelihood."


The EU is currently missing over 500,000 professional bus and truck drivers, a shortage exacerbated by the high number of drivers retiring every year and the low influx of new drivers entering the profession.

The revised version of the Directive proposed by TRAN provides effective solutions for attracting a new and safe workforce, including young people, to the driver profession.

“In view of the plenary vote on 27 February, we call on parliamentarians to support the TRAN report, which provides concrete steps to address the EU’s youth unemployment and driver shortage while carefully considering and addressing road safety aspects," concluded Raluca Marian.

About IRU
IRU is the world road transport organisation, promoting economic growth, prosperity and safety through the sustainable mobility of people and goods. As the voice of more than 3.5 million companies operating mobility and logistics services in all global regions, IRU leads solutions to help the world move better. 

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