Driving license: the legal driving age is reduced to 17 years

This measure was announced by the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, last June, the decree has just been published in the Official Gazette and finally confirms it: the minimum age required to obtain a driving license will be 17 years from 1 January 2024.

Extract from the Official Gazette/Decree No. 2023-1 214 of December 20, 2023 that reduces the minimum age to obtain category B driving license to seventeen years: “ Subject: modification of the conditions required to obtain a category B driving license. Entry into force: the text enters into force on January 1, 2024. Notice: the decree implements one of the measures of the “Interministerial Youth Plan” presented by the Prime Minister on June 21, 2023. Lowers the minimum age required to obtain category B driving license from eighteen to ten -seven years of age. »

Before January 1, 2024, you had to be at least 18 years old to be able to obtain the permit, or 17 years old through the accompanied driving formula, but you have to wait until you are 18 years old to be able to drive alone.

This measure, especially expected by all young people far from big cities and public transport, aims to make them more independent, especially apprentices who work on a work-study basis. Philippe Nozières, president of the 40 million motorists association, explained to us “that a certain number of young people work before the age of 18, they need mobility” and that using a scooter is not ideal for their safety.

A trial license for 3 years.

The same conditions will apply to obtain the B permit: passing the code and the practical exam after 20 hours of driving classes. Also as a reminder, when you get your license, and even more so at age 17, it is a trial license for 3 years:

  • You will have to drive with disc A (learner) in the back of the car.
  • The license is accredited with 6 points out of the maximum 12.
  • You will be credited with 2 points each year without incident.
  • The maximum road speed is 110 km/h (instead of 130).
  • The maximum alcohol level is 0.2 g/l blood (instead of 0.5 g/l).

Jam on your driving license?

What will be the repercussions for driving schools and the enthusiasm of young people for this measure? Potentially between 600,000 and 800,000 of them can apply, while the waiting times to obtain the license are already long in certain departments (from 1 week to 3 months of waiting depending on the territories).

Another possible obstacle: in addition to the cost of the car, the very high cost of insurance for those under 25 years of age, even if they work and receive a salary. The price of compulsory car insurance can sometimes double the price applied to seniors during the first year (100% increase).

If this measure delights the youngest, this change questions professionals in the sector for both practical and safety reasons. Why lowering the minimum driving age to 17 may be a bad idea.

Another measure long awaited by motorists on January 1, 2024: the end of the withdrawal of a point for small violations of the speed limit (excesses of less than 5 km/h over the limit).

While work and study are possible from the age of 16 for students, will the accompanied license age be reduced to 16 as a result?

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