Aanother time, another way. Until a few years ago, the driving license was a real symbol, like the right to vote. The race for the famous pink card was a goal for all young people approaching the age of 18, at a time when being able to drive was synonymous with freedom, independence and autonomy. But times have changed. Today, the car is much more badly judged. Young people find it too expensive, too polluting, too dangerous.
Accordingly, note 20 Minutes, fewer and fewer young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are rushing to get their driver’s license. In 2019, according to the latest report from the Ministry of the Interior, 726,000 young people under the age of 30 had obtained their permit. Two years earlier, in 2017, they were 766,000. « The downward trend has been perceptible for at least ten years, » confirms Jean-Pascal Assailly, psychologist and expert with the National Road Safety Council. For him, there is no doubt: « The permit as a rite of passage has lost its luster ».
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Big unnecessary expense
It is first and foremost, and as often, a big deal. For years, the price of a driver’s license has continued to increase. Today emphasizes 20 Minutes, it takes 50 euros per hour of driving – 1,800 euros, on average, for the entire route. A colossal sum to which must be added, if necessary, the purchase of a car, insurance, fuel, technical checks and possible repairs, etc. Unaffordable for a large number of young people, 13% of whom live below the poverty line.
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Another strong argument: the utility of the car. In the city, young people used to public transport do without it very easily. « In urban areas, the car has become a source of trouble, with parking problems, traffic jams, lost license points and municipal policies, » says Jean-Pascal Asailly. And even in the countryside, many rural young people leave for the city from high school, so at the age when they might be tempted to take their license.
Symbol of a bygone era
Ecological convictions, particularly strong among young people, also contribute to tarnish the image of the driving license. « What passed to be the absolute luxury at the end of adolescence during the years 1990-2000 seems to me today almost obscene », explains Pierre, 34 years old, to 20 Minutes. For a good part of this generation, the private car has even become the embodiment of a bygone era, marked by recklessness and overconsumption.
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However, believes Jean-Pascal Assailly, it seems that this rejection of the license does not last, after a certain age. “Some people wait until the last moment to register for the code. As soon as they have a child, they often feel that the permit becomes necessary ”. Likewise, the level of income often changes with age, making driving licenses more accessible later on.