Eu court puts the brakes on driver’s license tourism

Eu court puts the brakes on driver's license tourism

But then the driver’s license must be valid even if the owner previously failed the so-called idiot test in germany and was therefore no longer allowed to drive a car. This was decided by the european court of justice (eugh) in luxembourg on thursday (rs. C-467/10).

In the case in question, the german authorities had refused to issue a young man with a driving license from the outset – the psychological report had shown that he was physically and mentally unfit to drive. There is evidence of a high potential for aggression. The man had several previous convictions for driving without a license, aggravated extortion, threatening behaviour and insulting behaviour. He had more success in the czech republic, where the authorities issued him a driver’s license. Germany, however, refused to recognize the document

Rightly so, ruled the highest EU judges – even though a european directive stipulates that driving licenses are generally mutually recognized within the EU. Germany is allowed to refuse recognition if "on the basis of indisputable information" it is established that the holder of the driving license did not actually reside in the country in which the driving license was issued. In the case in question, the czech authorities had confirmed that the man had not been registered in the country at the time the driver’s license was issued.

The negative medical-psychological test alone, however, was not sufficient reason to refuse recognition, the judges ruled. The mutual recognition of driving licenses is an important right of the european union (eu), and restrictions are only possible under certain conditions. If an EU country was allowed to refuse recognition of a driver’s license indefinitely on the basis of national regulations, there would no longer be mutual recognition of driver’s licenses in the EU.

The auto club europa (ACE) praised the decision. "From the point of view of traffic safety, the ruling is correct," said ACE traffic lawyer volker lempp. So at least some drivers who were considered a traffic risk in germany could be better thwarted. It is often cheaper to get a driver’s license abroad, he said. Foreign driver’s licenses were not allowed to serve as a detour for people who had not received a driver’s license in germany for good reason.

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