By Mark Fairlie.
Britons are expected to spend £36,190,000 on international driving permits if an agreement over the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The sum was calculated by MiDrive, a company offering a UK-based toolkit for learner drivers and instructors, based upon a survey it carried out suggesting that 20% of Britons intended to drive on the continent at some point during 2019.
British drivers will have to pay £5.50 for an international driving permit in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to MiDrive’s CEO Asher Ismail. Commenting on the research, Mr Ismail stated that
“(i)t’s scary to think just how much money Britons could end up paying for a freedom we currently take for granted. This isn’t about Britons’ ability or safety driving on EU roads, but just red tape that could put a dampener on many people’s plans to drive abroad.”
Motoring Research warned that Britons living the European Union may need to re-take their driving tests after Brexit. They report that the AA estimates that half a million ex-pats in France and Spain may be barred from driving in their countries of residence until they have passed their new courses. They advised that ex-pats should exchange their UK license for a European Union driving license before 29th March, the date on which the UK’s membership of the EU ends. The RAC has also issued advice of its own on the actions drivers should take.
The AA President Edmund King commented that many elderly expats will not “relish the prospect” of taking their driving test in a different language and in a foreign country.
In the UK, the Post Office will become the only issuer of IDPs in the UK via its 2,500-strong branch network.
Motorists face another potential issue with so-called Green Cards. Currently, green cards are automatically included in all UK vehicle insurance policies so that Britons are insured when driving in the EU. For driving outside the EU, green cards are needed to prove to overseas authorities that you have the minimum level of insurance cover required – insurers should issue with a green card upon request.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit absent any separate agreement covering insurance, British drivers will need green cards when travelling in the 46 countries covered by the scheme, including all 27 EU member countries.
Green card requirements will affect 110 million crossings between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland each year. It will also affect 1.6m trucks and 2.6m cars using the Eurotunnel, 2.4m lorry divers travelling from the UK to mainland Europe, and 370,000 lorry drivers travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
According to MiDrive, it would take 30 hours of lessons costing £835 for an overseas national to come to the UK and pass their driving tests. The costs include the price of both the practical and theory tests.
The company estimates that to pass a driving test, UK drivers in Germany would need to spend £1,765, the Netherlands £1,587, Denmark £1,182, France £1,147, and Spain £1,323.