Under EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2017, Ukraine has to introduce a new format of driving licenses, as well as new procedures for obtaining a license. The key changes are shorter license validity, new requirements and procedures required to obtain, update or renew a license and new training requirements for professional drivers, reported authors of research “Driving licenses: European experience and recommendations for Ukraine”, prepared by Ukrainian Centre for European Policy.
What Ukraine needs to do?
According to EU-Ukraine Association Agreement Ukraine has to approximate its legislation to two EU Directives. The first one is European Commission Driving License Directive 2006/126/EC (a new document instead of Directive 439, mentioned in the Agreement), its provisions are partly obligatory for Ukraine. The country can choose how to implement Directive requirements for drivers of the first group, concerning term of license validity and medical examination; requirements for drivers of the second group (those working as commercial drivers) are obligatory. Requirements of the second Directive, 2003/59/EC about the initial and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles are obligatory. According to the document, drivers must undergo initial and periodic training and examination every five years. Until now, the only requirement was to have driving license of a certain category.
Now Ukrainian drivers will have to validate their license every 10-15 years (to be decided yet). Drivers of the first group do not have to pass an additional examination to validate their license, drivers of the second group must pass a periodic examination. A driver is required to have an initial qualification (280-hour course or intensive course) and undergo training every five years to keep his knowledge up-to-date, commented Volodymyr Koskovetskyi, UCEP expert on transport.
Microchip in driving licenses is not an obligatory requirement. “Directive 126 prescribes that countries can consider this option for driving licenses as an element of additional protection and preservation of data. We still need to consider whether Ukraine needs it. EU countries are integrated into this system allowing interchange of data, but we don’t know whether Ukraine will be integrated,” explained UCEP expert Svitlana Maistruk.
Ukraine is not required to introduce full medical examination for drivers of the first group who want to receive, revalidate or renovate their license unless they have obvious health problems (mentioned in Annex 3). However, there may be additional requirements for drivers older than 50. The full medical examination is obligatory only for drivers of the second group.
The experts emphasized that draft laws created to approximate legislation to EC Directives at present do not include provisions about initiative training of drivers and some other important requirements. Some of the suggested provisions on minimum age necessary to obtain a license of a certain category, for instance, for two-wheel transport, do not comply with Directives. “The Directive recommends to add additional categories for them and to raise the required age to 24 years old for drivers of motorcycles and to 16-18 years old for drivers of motorbikes, and introduce a requirement that they have to pass a test,” noted Liubov Akulenko, executive director of the Centre for European Policy. Experts also recommend introducing code “95” for driving licenses of professional drivers.
They also emphasize that it is necessary to ensure coordination between the authorities involved in this process (Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science and Government Office for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration).
Comments of the Government representatives
Vladyslav Krykliy, head of the Chief Service Centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, said that they consider 15-year license validity for drives of the first group and five-year validity for professional drivers. According to him, they are going to introduce requirement about microchip in the driving license, despite the fact that it is not obligatory. “Our service centers already have the necessary equipment and we are going to submit to Verkhovna Rada a draft law that would make it possible to use microchip. In the future, that would allow better interchange of data, better prevention of forgery. Moreover, it would provide new opportunities for people, because in many EU countries driving license works as an identity document,” Krykliy noted. He added that draft laws will be finalized and submitted to the Parliament in September.
Victor Dovhan, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine for European Integration, noted that the Ministry will consider expert’s recommendation about code “95” in driving licenses.
Yuriy Chornyi, director of Ukrainian Medical Centre for Road Security and Information Technologies of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, said that they are going to launch special register of clinics mandated to conduct medical examination of drivers, as well as a register of results of these examinations, in order to prevent corruption and forgery.
According to Olha Stefanishyna, Director of Government Office for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, approximation process is organized in a way that will allow the Government to analyze legislative initiatives on various blocks of Association Agreement in “packages”. “In the end of this process, we expect to have ‘transport Eurointegration day’, when a governmental hearing on these legislative initiatives will take place. We will ensure that the draft laws submitted to the Parliament are in line with our commitments within the Association Agreement and with each other. But our main focus will be the future implementation process,” elaborated Stefanishyna.