"We will continue working to show the European Parliament that our independence and autonomy as people should not be limited"
FATEC, as a representative body for older people in Catalonia, aims to make their voice heard in all administrations. Currently, and as members of AGE Platform Europe (Brussels), we are working to make contributions to the EU on the updating of the Directive on driving licenses because it is an issue that affects us.
Since last year, the EU has been preparing this update, FATEC is part of the working group to provide input on the proposal, which must be discussed with the European Parliamentary Commission in a few days.
From the analysis of this new proposal we want to highlight as positive aspects that it is requested that the reference to the suspension of the driver's license for "behavioral problems related to age" be removed, as we had already requested, for consider it a discriminatory criterion.
As a negative aspect, we note that we do not want to remove the age of 70 to reduce the period of validity of driving licenses to 5 years. Instead, it makes it progressive: validity of 7 years for people aged 60, 5 years for those aged 70 and 2 years for those aged 80 and over.
For all this, from the working group in which FATEC is present, we believe that:
- Having to renew the driver's license every two years from the age of 80 is a clear sign of ageism and age discrimination.
- We do not have statistics on fatal accidents caused by drivers based on their age, but we notice that older people tend to slow down and drive more cautiously as we age. Therefore, it is very likely that accidents caused by older people are lower and the accident ratio is lower than other age groups.
- In a study between Switzerland (where permits are periodically reviewed) and Germany/Austria, no comparative evidence was found to say that renewal rates every 2 or every 5 years are better or worse.
- Yes, it has been shown in this study that the renewal of the permit every two years discourages doing it, especially in rural areas or with few communications, which leads to aggravating the problem of loneliness and dependency of the elderly. This fact also implies that the cost of the resources that must be dedicated is growing, whether assumed by the person or the Administration.
Apart from the contributions we have made to the Commission, we have sought support from other national and state entities. Likewise, a letter has been sent to the Spanish MEPs who are on the commission so that they consider and defend our opinions.
From FATEC we will continue to work to show the European Parliament that our independence and autonomy as people should not be limited, so that the legal changes are positive now and in the future for the elderly.
We hope that before decisions are made that affect older people, their voices are heard.