The EU on Wednesday proposed tougher rules to crack down on traffic violations across Europe and plans to introduce a digital driving licence that would be valid across the bloc.

The European Commission said more than 20,000 people were killed last year in traffic incidents on the European Union's roads.

The new rules will give law enforcement access to national driving licence registers, which the Commission said would help identify offenders and ensure they pay their fines.

More than 40 percent of cross-border traffic offences go unpunished, the EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean said during a press conference in Brussels.

"Today's proposal tackles that by improving cross-border cooperation. Those who drive dangerously must not be able to get away with it," she added.

Under the new rules, if an individual is disqualified from driving in one country, they will be disqualified from driving across the EU.

The new digital driving licence would be recognised by all member states and would be the world's "first", the European Commission said in a statement.

But member states will still issue licences to their respective citizens.

The proposal "will make the small piece of plastic history", Valean told reporters.

However, people could still request a physical version of their licence.

She also said the minimum age to take a driving test would now be 17, and those who pass can begin driving, but only if they are accompanied.

The Commission's proposals will go to the European Parliament and member states for their response.