In France, since the 1st of January, 2024, you can now apply for a driving license as soon as you turn 17. This move has been greeted with enthusiasm by many teenagers and some parents who see it as a way of boosting the independence of their offspring.
Raising Eyebrows Among Driving School Professionals
While the teenagers and some parents are celebrating this development, not everyone is on board with the change. Many driving school professionals have expressed their reservations about this new rule.
Driving Test Inspectors Overwhelmed
The change has led to an increase in the number of 17-year-olds applying for driving licenses. This, in turn, has resulted in a shortage of driving test inspectors across the country. Applicants are finding themselves on waiting lists for longer periods due to the increased demand for slots for the practical driving test.
Areas Most Affected
The shortage of inspectors has hit some areas harder than others. The Val-de-Marne region, for instance, is facing a deteriorating ratio of students to inspectors. Other regions experiencing the crunch include Ain, Val-d'Oise, Deux-Sèvres, Ille-et-Vilaine, and Loire-Atlantique. The challenge of managing transfers that have not been filled, sick leaves, and inaccurate declarations of full-time equivalent positions further exacerbates the problem.
Driving Schools Pushing Back
Already feeling the pinch, some driving schools have reacted by refusing to register 17-year-old learners. One school director in Nantes has resorted to prioritizing adult learners due to the limited capacity to accommodate additional students.
Questions are being raised about the wisdom of allowing minors to drive independently, unlike the accompanied driving that was previously the norm. These concerns, together with the pushback from driving schools and the inspector shortage, have created a significant opposition to the rule change.
What Do You Think?
We invite you to join the debate. Is allowing 17-year-olds to get their driving licenses a good move, or is it a step too far? Let's hear your thoughts.