Car drivers in France – Facts and figures

The car, anchored in the daily life of the French

The car is at the heart of French travel. Three quarters of French people use it for their daily trips and more than 65% of French people go to work by car. In total, more than 80% of passenger transport in France is carried out by car.

Despite the numerous traffic jams, parking difficulties, as well as the significant budget required for the acquisition and maintenance of a car, the French do not turn away from it, even if it means carpooling or turning to a vehicle in leasing in the hope of limiting the cost. In 2022, the total amount of car leasing contracts granted to individuals will exceed 10.5 billion euros in France. The majority of French people drive thermal cars. Only 20% of them have ever driven an electric vehicle and only 6% own one.

As the car remains at the center of the daily life of the French, obtaining a driving license constitutes an important and essential step in gaining independence and seeking employment for many young people. Despite the high cost of the license, often between 1,000 and 2,000 euros, each year there are more than a million candidates for the driving test, of whom a little more than half will pass the test. The majority of B licenses issued in France are intended for young people under 20 years old and more than 80% of 24 to 26 year olds have a driving license.

The private car promises independence, freedom and efficiency, but it also has flaws. In addition to its high financial cost and its impact on the environment and climate, many people are victims of road accidents.

Dangerous driving behavior and road accidents

Every year, more than 3,000 people die on the road network in France, and more than 15,000 are seriously injured. Among the victims, we find pedestrians and cyclists, and especially users of motorized two-wheeled vehicles and car occupants. Road deaths affect people of all ages, but young people aged 20 to 29 as well as people over 70 are particularly affected.

The causes of road accidents are varied: excessive speed, falling asleep at the wheel, inattention, cell phone use, alcohol or drug consumption, etc. In 2020, nearly 15% of drivers involved in fatal accidents tested positive to narcotics. Some drivers tend to overestimate their driving skills, an effect further reinforced by alcohol or drug use. Thus, the French consider themselves to be vigilant, calm and courteous while driving, while they find other drivers irresponsible, dangerous, aggressive and stressed.

Many drivers report that they are sometimes inattentive or tired when they get behind the wheel and more than a quarter of French people have already dozed off for a few seconds while driving. 14% of drivers get behind the wheel even if they are above the legal alcohol limit. In addition, the vast majority of drivers report exceeding speed limits and not always respecting safety distances. However, even when the driver is very attentive, it often takes a significant distance for the vehicle to stop. A vehicle traveling at just 50 km/h requires at least 23 meters to come to a stop, a number that can rise to 181 meters for a car traveling at 130 km/h. Despite advances in safety such as the compulsory wearing of seat belts and driving aids for modern vehicles, the car remains the most dangerous means of transport, causing the deaths of 60 times more people each year than rail or the air./.

This text provides general information. Statista cannot guarantee that the information is complete or accurate. Due to varying update cycles, statistics may show more recent data than referenced in the text.

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