Older person taking a blood pressure test with a doctor.

French transport minister against mandatory age-based tests for older drivers

  • October 10, 2023

The French minister of transport Clément Beaune has spoken out against mandatory age-based tests for older drivers, part of a proposed reform of EU driving licence rules.  

In a radio interview earlier this month, the minister said he was opposed to requiring elderly people to undergo a medical examination so that they could keep their driving licence.

In June, the chair of the Irish Society of Physicians in Geriatric Medicine also spoke out against a mandatory driving licence renewal process for drivers aged 70+, saying the rule would be ‘discriminatory’.

In a letter to European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, Professor Desmond O’Neil said that older drivers are some of the safest drivers, and higher death rates in the age group are due to the fragility of older people, not an increased likelihood to cause a crash.  

Prof. O’Neill said that updated driving licence rules should focus on medical conditions across the lifespan, not just on older drivers.  

ETSC is calling for the EU to introduce a screening protocol for doctors to use with all age groups to assess medical fitness to drive.

Sweden (the safest country for road safety in the EU) has carried out a study looking into the introduction of age-based screening.  The Swedish Transport Agency report concluded that the country should not introduce mandatory medical screening for older drivers but instead recommended further investigations for drivers of all ages suffering from substance abuse, mental disorders, epilepsy and diabetes.