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Plan to allow 15-year-olds to drive in France

Ben McPartland · 28 Mar 2014, 10:39

Published: 28 Mar 2014 10:39 GMT+01:00

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Under current French law teenagers are not allowed to buy a packet of cigarettes until the age of 18, but they could soon be permitted to get behind the wheel of a car aged 15.

French driving magazine Auto Plus revealed on Friday that the National Council for Road Safety, a government advisory body, is set to recommend reducing the legal age of “accompanied driving” to 15.

Currently learner drivers in France are allowed to drive from the age of 16, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. They are required to build up around 3,500 km on the clock as an “accompanied driver” before they can gain their licence once they have reached the age of 18. 

But the road safety council wants to lower the limit in a bid to better prepare learner drivers for the dangers of the road, before they get behind the wheel alone.

The National Road Safety Council believes the change would allow young drivers to get more road miles under their belt before they reach 18 and it would also discourage many parents from allowing their teenage children to ride a moped.

The law in France allows teenagers from the age of 14 to drive a moped, as long as the wheels are smaller than 50 cm3.

SEE ALSO - Crazy French drivers: The real rules of la route

But concerns have been raised after figures for 2012 revealed that 40 percent of teenagers aged between 15 and 17 years old who died on France’s roads were driving a moped.

Anyone learning to drive from the age of 18 in France has to have a minimum of 20 hours of lessons before they can take their test.

Story continues below…

The move to lower the age limit for learner drivers in France to 15 is in contrast to the UK, where the government was considering raising the age-limit for when someone can get a learner's license from 17 to 18, to try to cut down on the number of road accidents involving young motorists.

However in a move more akin to the system in France, the UK government is also considering imposing a "learner stage", that can begin at the age of 17, during which drivers would have to total at least 100 hours of daytime driving and 20 hours at nighttime driving while under supervision.

In Spain the minimum driving age age is 18 and in Germany it is 17, as long as you are accompanied by an adult. Drivers can only gain their full license in Germany at the age of 18.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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