Driver’s license: “The government reform does little to improve the waiting time”

THE MACRONOMETER – If the government’s reform project makes the framework surrounding the permit more flexible, it does not touch the heart of the problem, says iFRAP, which gives it a score of 6/10. Each week, the liberal think-tank publishes on Le Figaro.fr the evaluation of one of Emmanuel Macron’s measures.

On average, in France, passing the driving license costs candidates 1600 euros, a sum which varies from

Figaro

1400 to more than 2000 euros in the Paris region. In 2015, of the 1.4 million people taking the B permit, only 60% obtained it the first time. For the others, it was necessary to pay an additional 500 euros on average to iron it. Finally, the candidates must complete at least 20 hours of driving to be presentable for the exam… but it would rather be 35 hours of learning necessary for the candidates and this while the cost of a driving lesson can range from simple double, from 40 to 80 euros.

This is the overall cost of the driving license, for an average cost of around 1120 euros. To achieve its objective, it presented a series of measures last May.

Modernization measures:

– The training booklet, currently in paper format, will be available in digital format and online, from January 2020.

– An online driving school comparator will be set up by the end of 2019. This should make it possible to establish transparency on the results, on the deadlines, on the prices of the packages and the average cost of obtaining the license driving in driving schools.

– An experiment will be launched, from January 2020 and in five departments, to allow candidates to plan their own reservations for the driving license exam. The idea is to give candidates a clear deadline while also holding them accountable so that they perform better on the exam. On the other hand, in the event of failure in the exam, the time limit for resiting the license will be adjusted according to the level of the candidate.

More timid adjustments to lower the cost of learning to drive:

– The number of authorized hours of driving on a “simulator” will be increased from 5 to 10 hours, out of the compulsory 20 hours. These hours are on average 30% cheaper than driving hours with an instructor. A tax incentive will be put in place for driving schools equipping themselves with simulators.

– Recourse to supervised driving (equivalent to accompanied driving but for adults) will be automated in the event of failure in the driving license examination. This would concern approximately 500,000 people per year while reducing the number of driving hours to resume.

– The period for passing the “manual driving” license after having passed the “automatic driving” license is reduced from 6 to 3 months.

– And finally, the legal age to take the license exam is lowered to 17 years old from the end of 2019… even if the candidate, if successful, will have to wait until he is 18 to drive alone.

Last point, the government will offer training in the code on the online platform and the passing of the code exam (30 euros) to volunteers from the (SNU), ie around 800,000 young people.

What we retain is that, if the government’s reform project makes the framework surrounding the permit more flexible, it touches little on the heart of the problem, which is the waiting period between the moment when the pupil is declared fit to pass the examination by his driving school and the day of the examination. This is one of the variables that increases the average cost of the permit, since during this period, the student must generally continue to take driving lessons. In 2013, the time to pass the exam was 98 days compared to 45 days in Europe. In 2014, the government set itself a deadline of 45 days, by reducing the duration of the practical test for the B license from 35 to 32 minutes to obtain 117,500 additional exam places per year. Despite this, in 2016 the waiting period was still 66 days.

Lowering the duration of the exam to 25 minutes would have freed up around 250,000 new exam places per year. The government, if it really wants to lower the price of driving licenses, could also draw inspiration from the Belgian example where the cost of driving licenses varies between 1500 euros, if the candidate goes through a driving school, to about 53% success, and 500 euros if the candidate becomes a free candidate, a variant of accompanied driving. In 2017, the success rate of independent candidates for the Belgian license was higher than that of those trained in driving schools, with 57% success.


Figaro

, observatory of government reforms, is a site of the in partnership with Le Figaro.fr. It is a tool dedicated to the evaluation of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term: econometric evaluation in relation to his electoral program and the announcements of his government. With Le Macronomètre, government action is noted out of 10 every Wednesday before the Council of Ministers and becomes readable at a glance. The Macronometer allows everyone to form an opinion on whether or not the President of the Republic’s promises have been kept and on the effectiveness of government reforms.

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