Driver's license changes 2023

In 2023 the EU is to adopt a new driving license directive. After that, the B 196 will apply internationally and the B-class weight limit will increase. But penalties are also becoming international.

The EU wants to pass a new driver's license directive in 2023, which could bring changes to the car driver's license and the driver's license test for novice drivers as well as more freedom for two-wheelers with a B-196 license.

In order to further standardize the driving license requirements for all EU citizens, the EU is currently revising the driving license guidelines. Various changes are planned for the fourth driving license directive, which is expected to be adopted at the end of March 2023. However, before the new driving license directive comes into force in Germany, it must be transposed into national law.

B 196 is going international, B class is allowed more

Class B driver's license holders should also be allowed to move heavier vehicles in the future. The weight limit (permissible total mass) is to increase from the current 3.5 tons to 4.25 tons. This means that class B owners can also move larger motorhomes, for example.

Motorcycle career changers who have made their way onto two-wheelers with the B-196 license should also be able to move their light motorcycles with a displacement of up to 125 cubic centimeters abroad in the future. To date, the B-196 regulation has only been recognized nationally.

The lowering of the minimum age for truck and bus driving licenses is also being discussed. In Germany, class C for trucks can only be acquired at the age of 21, class D for buses only at the age of 24. In the future, the minimum age will be reduced to 18 years. The background to the planned change is the acute shortage of truck drivers.

Digital driver's license planned

With the new driver's license directive, the EU is also making a new attempt on the subject of "digital driver's license". The aim is for the corresponding app on the smartphone to be sufficient in the event of a police check or when renting a car. A QR code is also being considered for the driver's license check card instead of the current chip to make it more counterfeit-proof.

New rules for learner drivers

Changes could also arise for learner drivers. So far, it has not been possible to take the theoretical and practical driving test in different EU member states. That should be allowed in the future. To do this, however, the previous residence regulations would have to be simplified.

As the ADAC reports, there is also a discussion about starting practical training only after a successful theoretical exam. In addition, at least part of the driving test could be conducted in simulators in the future.

In order to reduce the number of accidents, a mandatory refresher course is being considered after one year of driving license ownership. Road safety experts had recommended this measure.

Penalties and points valid internationally

But driving license penalties should also be more uniform in the EU. The length of the driver's license withdrawal (e.g. because of drunk driving) should be standardized and mutually recognised. A driving ban imposed in Italy would then also apply in Germany.
In this context, uniform limit values ​​​​for alcohol and drug consumption are also being sought, the point systems in the various countries are to be aligned and the driving license data of all EU citizens are to be stored in a Europe-wide database. This should make police checks easier.
The current schedule stipulates that the vote in the EU Parliament will take place by the end of March. The fourth driving license directive is then to pass the EU Council and the EU Parliament. The individual member states of the European Union are then asked to implement the new regulations for motorists.


The planned new EU driver's license directive brings new freedoms for B-Class owners and B-196 drivers. Driver's licenses could also finally become digital. However, driving license sanctions are also threatened, which would then be internationally valid. That, in turn, may not appeal to everyone.


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