Paula has been enrolled in driving school for a long time, but her driving license is being asked. “I have been signed up for a long time but I am lazy to start doing tests”, admits. Like her, more and more young people are without a driving license in Spain. According to data from the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), only the 48% of those under 34 years of age they have a driving license in our country. That is, less than half.
The truth is that this is not just for young people. In a decade, the rate of registered permits in Spain has dropped in almost all age groups. Of the population aged 35 to 39, less than half have a license, but in 2011 60% had it. It has also dropped dramatically between the ages of 45 and 49.
“Before the pandemic we had noticed a drop at certain times, as always. There are peaks that, logically, are unavoidable. Yes it had been noticed that young people had lost a bit of interest in obtaining the permit. Probably, because they don’t need it “, he explains. Ricardo Cano, president of the Provincial Association of Driving Schools of Madrid (APAM) and owner of the Panda Driving School.
“People move on public transport and that is enough for them. But that returns, that returns to its being, because permission is not only needed for the enjoyment of people, but also to be able to access jobs ”. This is what several young people consulted by this newspaper consider.
Between the zetas younger people, between 18 and 20 years old, only a quarter have the permit, according to the DGT. However, most of them intend to take it out at some point, as EL ESPAÑOL has verified in a tour of the center of Madrid asking about this issue in question. There are those who already have it and there are those who do not, but they all have intention.
Lara, for example, is 17 years old and her idea is to remove it as soon as she reaches the age of majority. It is in your priorities. The reason is logical: he lives in El Molar (39 kilometers north of Madrid) and he will need it to go to university. His friend Raúl is also clear about it: “As soon as I can, as soon as I turn 18.”
Others, on the other hand, have taken it much more calmly. Diego is 21 and admits that he has not taken it off “due to vagrancy and lack of time.” And that he likes cars. “The month that comes in, I am already signing up for driving school.” Until then, your wheels are others that do not require permission, those of your skate. “I don’t like to take public transport, but if I have to, then I do it”says this young receptionist.
Among his friends, there is quite a balance between those who have and do not have a license. “In our group of friends it has not been a priority”admits his companion, who is the same age, but does drive.
The pandemic, of course, has taken a toll on driving schools and the issuance of licenses. “Little by little, normality is regaining,” says Cano, the president of APAM. Likewise, there are driving schools that they have had to close branches, “but central, few.”
Another reason that there are fewer cards is that the DGT suffers from a serious shortage of examiners. In ten years they have dropped 10%. In 2010 there were 888 examiners and, in 2020, 802, according to the DGT’s own figures. In June, the director of the DGT, Pere Navarro, assured that during the pandemic, 286,000 tests had been stopped. Little by little, that number is decreasing, despite the fact that new people pass the theoretical exam and begin to do practices.
The practices are a long way off for Ana, who, although she is considering getting her license, has not yet begun to do so. “I think it is useful and necessary but at the moment I have not been able to because of money. I am interested because it is something that in the end you are going to use ”, says this young business and marketing student. Aspire to one day have your own vehicle “When I work and earn enough to buy a car.”
Carlos is interested in having the card for work reasons. He is a 24-year-old architecture student. Although his partner has a license, he still does not. “Many jobs require you to have a driver’s license or your own car. What’s more, in the world of architecture you have to be visiting works and projects and you can’t depend on a bus ”.
“Why don’t you have it yet?”
“Especially for the price.” It is not only the license but the maintenance of the car. Insurance, road tax, ITV …
All the interviewees agree on that: having a car is expensive. And generation Z, currently, does not stand out for its purchasing power or its high employment rate. Right now, none of the interviewees could afford a car of their own. Sergio will have to be left by his father when he takes out his license, something that is part of his closest plans.
“I consider that the card gives me much more freedom to move around the city I live in.” The city in question is Vigo (Pontevedra) and this 18-year-old is eager to stop moving by bus. “In about three months. When Christmas starts I get on with it ”.