France Lowers Minimum
Drivers Age To 17
18 JAN - France has lowered the minimum age for obtaining a driving license to 17 years instead of 18.
The measure was announced in December 2023 by then Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and was implemented by a decree which came into force on the 1st of January.
The reform is part of the policy set earlier by the National Refoundation Council aimed at promoting autonomy and access to employment for young people. In effect, young people at 17 years of age who have passed the general theoretical test (which is possible from the age of 16 (15 years in the case of a accompanied driving)) and have covered the minimum of 20 hours of driving (13 hours for the automatic transmission license) can now take the practical driving license test. Youngsters who have covered the said requirements will no longer have to wait until they are 18 years old to take the exam and obtain a drivers licence.
According to the French Road Safety Agency candidates who have practiced accompanied driving are ideal for the new reform. Such drivers have shown a success rate on the first presentation of the practical exam almost 20 points higher (75% compared to 57% for the B license) and with a lower accident rate. The practice also allows access to a cheaper insurance policy and shorter novice driver probationary period - 2 years instead of 3.
There are no changes to the probationary conditions. In the first two years after obtaining the licence drivers must observe a 110 km/h speed limit on the motorway, a maximum blood alcohol level of 0.2 g/l. They also start with an initial 6 points in the record which are doubled to 12 at the end of the probationary period should the driver has not committed any offenses.
The agency clearly informs that the drivers licence obtained at the age of 17 does not automatically allow French individuals to drive from this age in other European countries. “The age of access to the right to drive depends on the national regulations in force and is specific to each member state of the European Union. Drivers must therefore find out before their departure about the legislation in force in the country of destination”, the agency stated.