Wednesday, November 29, 2006

EU Big Brother

A correspondant working in the European Parliament emailed me this little gem.
Good driving
Our driving licences are soon to be harmonised

Today there are no less than 110 different driving licences in the European Union. This creates a convenient confusion among the less honest of us and makes our roads more dangerous than necessary... That is why the European Commission has proposed a harmonisation of the national laws.

After its proposal was adopted at first reading, tripartite negotiations ended in July of this year with a common position supported by the EP, the Council and the Commission. On Wednesday, 22 November, a small number of amendments were reviewed in order to prepare the draft recommendation for second reading. Five main points are given priority by our Members, guided by the rapporteur, Mathieu Grosch (EPP-ED):
  • A single European driving licence rather than 110! All new driving licences must be replaced by a single model in credit card format within six years at the latest after the directive enters into force. As for driving licences that are already issued, you will have 26 years to adapt them to the new standards! A microchip will be incorporated in them. A licence validity period will be introduced in the countries where licences are valid for life, which is a way of regularly updating the data they contain. It is up to the Member States to decide whether or not to carry out medicals or sight tests at the same time...

  • Combating ‘driving licence tourism’, in other words the possibility for European citizens who have lost their driving licences after a serious offence to obtain a new driving licence in another Member State. This proposal has been accepted and it is now a matter of setting up a Community network of driving licences so that the restrictions are applied uniformly from one country to another.

  • Safety from experience, especially as regards two-wheeled vehicles, an undeniable source of fatal accidents. Thanks to the EP, the concept of progressive access has been endorsed, but with some leeway for Member States with regard to the minimum age. Progressive access means that young drivers will have to accumulate experience on smaller motorcycles before they can transfer to larger models or else wait until they turn 24.

  • Trailers, caravans and mobile homes. In the light of the statistics, the EP has successfully argued that a simple Category B driving licence is sufficient for trailers less than 750 kg (4 250 kg including the vehicle). The directive provides for a test or training course when the trailer and vehicle combination exceeds 3 500 kg. The Council was not prepared to introduce a similar system for mobile homes, for which the weight threshold will remain 3 500 kg for a Category B driving licence.

  • Initial and ongoing training of examiners. Harmonised driving licences require homogeneous examiners.

Would anyone like to tell me why driving licenses need a microchip in them? Or indeed, what the fuck is actually going to be stored on those chips? Oh, and this:
A licence validity period will be introduced in the countries where licences are valid for life, which is a way of regularly updating the data they contain. It is up to the Member States to decide whether or not to carry out medicals or sight tests at the same time...

Yup. And I really believe that those licenses will be free to replace, don't you? And don't you also want to bet that any medicals or sight tests will be absolutely free too? Eh? Oh, and Longrider: are you ready to sit those driving instructor tests again so that you can become one of those "homogeneous examiners"?

Is anyone, like me, wondering at what point these licences will be compulsory to carry? And anyone want to bet that it is at about the same time that these microchips can be picked up and tracked by Galileo for road-charging purposes? As my correspondant says:
I'd have more respect for them if they said, "look. We're powerhungry fuckheads and we think this is another way to control everyone. You all like to drive, so we'll get some seemingly harmless bit of card, stick a tiny bit of metal in it which is just the same as you get in your Boots advantage card, and then we'll store all your details and use that big cunt in the sky (when we manage to get it working, anyway) Galileo to monitor you ALL THE TIME!"

For fuck's sake.

1 comment:

Longrider said...

Oh, and Longrider: are you ready to sit those driving instructor tests again so that you can become one of those "homogeneous examiners"?

Nah, I'll leave the examining stuff well alone. Homogenised instructors, now I'd like to see them try that.