French MP wants debate on ‘fit-to-drive’ medicals for over 75s

The draft bill proposing medicals every five years has been called profoundly unfair by a drivers’ group

Currently, French driving licences do not have to be renewed at a specific age

A French MP behind plans to oblige over-75s to renew their driving licences has told The Connexion he hopes the issue will be debated, although he admits tweaks might be needed.

Bruno Millienne, 63, from the centre-right Mouvement Démo­crate, has put forward a draft bill proposing that drivers must have a medical at age 75, which should be repeated every five years.

Read more: Older drivers must pass medical tests to stay on French roads, says MP

Idea is ‘profoundly unfair’ says association

The EU Com­mission has also proposed that all licences be renewable at 70 but suggests it would then be up to each state to decide if people should also have to take a medical or just ‘self-assess’ if they are still fit to drive.

French licences do not have to be renewed at a specific age, and medicals are required only if you develop certain health conditions that might affect driving.

Mr Millienne’s idea met with opposition from drivers’ association 40 millions d’automobilistes, which called it “profoundly unfair” and said young people cause far more mortal accidents than the elderly.

Read more: Should older drivers in France undergo medical checks? Your feedback

Drivers who cause accidents are treated differently due to age

The MP told The Connexion: “At the rentrée, I want to work on it with colleagues and associations to see if it can go through or not. Changes may be needed.

“What I wanted was for there to be debate about the issue, so a solution can be found that respects everyone but that helps prevent accidents. I’m not looking to coerce or to annoy people. I just want them to be aware of the need to take care.”

It might be necessary to review the idea of obligatory medicals, he added. He hopes to obtain cross-party agreement on the way forward.

He said: “There are not necessarily more accidents with old people than the young, but for one thing the sanctions are not the same.

“A young driver who messes up can easily find themselves with severe punishment.

“When older people are involved in accidents where there is physical injury, they are found responsible in 82% of cases, and I was struck by that.”

The EU proposal is being debated by the European parliament this month.

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