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Young drivers 17-year-olds given green light for provisional licences

young driver in front of car

A driving instructor discusses the lesson with a learner driver

(© KEYSTONE / GAETAN BALLY)

Young Swiss drivers will be allowed to get their provisional licences from the age of 17 from January 2021, the government has announced.

On Friday the executive approved a change to the current rules, put forward by outgoing Transport Minister Doris Leuthard, which had been widely reported in the media.

+Read our report on Leuthard’s plans, and the opposition to them, here

The idea is that 17-year-olds will be able to hold a provisional driving licence (allowing them practise with an accompanying driver) and apply for their full licence as soon as they turn 18. Currently, learners can apply for a provisional licence one month before turning 18 and may not get their full licence until some months after. 

Under the change, learners under 20 must spend a year on driving practice before they can take the full test.

“The advantage that for road safety comes from the fact that the more accompanied practice that is done, the lower the risk of accidents after passing the practical test,” a government statement said.external link

The official reason for the change is that since learners will need to have a provisional licence for at least a year, it should be possible to apply for such a licence sooner. The government also argues that for certain professions, a driving licence is necessary from age 18.

Currently two days of further training must take place a year after passing the practical test. This will be reduced to one day from 2020. The seven-hour course will include emergency stops and practical exercises, while energy efficient driving will also be practiced in a simulator, the government said.

In Switzerland the driving test consists of four parts: a practical test, a first aid course, a theory test and short “danger awareness” course.

Keystone-SDA/Federal Office of Transport/ilj

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