« I already have trouble making ends meet », « In town, the car is not very useful » … Why more and more young people do not have it

It was a symbol of autonomy and the transition to adulthood. But the driver’s license is much less. In 2019, 726,000 young people under 30 obtained the famous sesame, against 766,000 in 2017, according to the latest report from the Ministry of the Interior. “The downward trend has been noticeable for at least ten years. In the years 1960-1970, at 18 years and one day, one had to be at the wheel. The permit as a rite of passage has lost its splendor, ”observes Jean-Pascal Assailly, psychologist and expert with the National Road Safety Council (CNSR).

If young people are less inclined to take their license straight away when they come of age, it is often because they cannot financially. « It should be remembered that 13% of young people live below the poverty line, and that aid from local authorities to finance the permit is not very widespread », underlines the psychologist. A brake that our readers under 30 testify to like Tiffany, a young mother of 28 who receives 1,200 euros in monthly income: “At 50 euros per hour of driving, the B license costs at least 1,800 euros. It is therefore impossible for me to pass it without going into great debt. Not to mention that I will then have to buy a car and insure it properly ”. Marjorie, 28, can not access the status of driver either: “I’m already struggling to finish the end of the month, it’s not to add the license. And a car is a money pit, so what’s the point? « . For her part, Vivien has done her accounts: « Cost of the car, possible repairs, insurance, fuel … In ten years, I have had to save close to 10,000 euros in insurance alone, not to mention the price of fuel. that I would have spent. This sum, I prefer to put it in a future house than to let it go up in smoke ”, he declares.

« Having a car would even be a handicap in town »

And even when they can afford a driving school, some shun the permit because they see no point in it. “The majority of rural youth leave for the city from high school. In urban areas, the car has become a source of trouble, with parking problems, traffic jams, lost license points. And municipal politicians who try to drive away the car end up convincing young people that they should not have one, ”analyzes Jean-Pascal Assailly. This is the case for Lola, 31: “I have the feeling that I have everything I need in Île-de-France in terms of mobility. In addition, my employer pays half of my Navigo pass, I also have holiday vouchers to pay for the plane and train. And I own an electric scooter ”.

« When you live in a big city, the car is impractical, terribly slow and very expensive », summarizes Marie. Lila, 30, comes to the same observation: “I am a city dweller, I go to work on foot, on a scooter or on the tram. Having a car would even be a handicap in town. Vacations ? I never go alone. Races ? A cart on wheels does the trick very well. I feel independent as a pedestrian, no need for a car to exist! « . More surprisingly, some young people who live in villages or small towns hold the same discourse. Like Alexia, a 30-year-old mother: “I live in a small village, far from all amenities. I continue to take public transport. It’s just a matter of organization. To go shopping, I always depend on someone and I do it according to the person who accompanies me ”.

To preserve (a little) the planet

Ecological concerns being very marked among those under 35, it is logical that they are often accompanied by a ban on the car. Charlotte, 19, does not intend to pass the license at all: « Being very concerned about the ecological crisis, I like to think that I am participating a little bit in an emancipation of the private car by refusing to comply with this passage. of the permit, seen as an obligation by a large part of society ”. At 32, Amandine has not given up on her convictions either: “I cycle to work and take the children on cargo bikes. In addition, daily trips by bike or on foot bring me a lot: a daily sport that is good for health and it shows children that we can get around other than by car, especially for short journeys. « The ecological conscience of Pierre, 34, also prevents him from pushing the door of a driving school: » What passed to be the absolute luxury at the end of a adolescence during the years 1990-2000 seems to me. almost obscene today. « 

In more rare cases, it is the fear of the road that slows down some, like Fanny, 25: “I am terrified at the idea of ​​driving, I am afraid of other users, but also of my own abilities. The responsibility that driving involves is a huge burden on my shoulders ”. Maéva, 20, also prefers to remain pedestrian for safety reasons: “When I see the driving mentality of the majority of French people (with the trivialization of drink driving, for example), I am very worried about driving. the very idea of ​​being in a car and being hit by a reckless driver ”.

It is also the lack of time that makes some people give up on obtaining the precious paper, as for Céline, 31 years old: “I would like to pass it, but it is binding. What would be good would be to create a crash course for those over 30, to make things easier when you work 40 hours a week ”. Oskar adds: “Passing the permit is far too long and tedious. « 

A postponement for many

It remains to be seen whether this « no » to driving lessons will be final. Jean-Pascal Assailly does not believe it: “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, ”he notes. This is what Agnès plans to do: « I will spend it when I have children, so that I can take them on vacation! » », She indicates.

Julien, 36 years old, who has already passed – and failed – the exam at the age of 19: « I’m coming to an age where I need it more and more (friend living far away, too much time to go to work…) Suddenly, I will go through the Personal Training Account (CPF) to pay myself for it in 2022 ”. Moreover, the permit is the training most funded by the CPF!

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