Monday, 21 May 2007

Driving without a licence

No, I'm not talking about Jerome who still doesn't have his licence. This weekend, as we discussed our vacation options, my husband said to me,"it's all because I don't have my licence." I was a little surprised by this statement and said, "what are you talking about?" He thought it was my typical passive-agressive reaction whenever the subject of his driving comes up. But this time it was a genuine reaction, I felt bad for him (sort of). He enrolled in driving school 4 years ago but hasn't gone to a class in at least 3 years. My husband is once again kicking himself because our vacation options are limited since I REFUSE to do all the driving. Last year, I drove the entire length of the country with a 6 week old, on limited sleep, and having to stop every 4 hours to nurse.

In France, though, there is an alternative to the driver's licence: the voiture sans permis or licence-less car.

Yes, there are certain cars in France that you can drive without a licence. Since 2004, the licence-less driver needs to know about road rules. In other words, before 2004 you didn't need to know didly squat about driving in order to drive one of these cars. You need a licence to drive a scooter but not this car.

The rationale is something like this : since there are fewer cylinders (4 cylinders), the car isn't as powerful so you can't go on the highway, you can't go too fast (limited to 45km/h) and so it's not dangerous. Granted, the driving licence is really expensive in France and many people need to drive but can't afford to pay for the licence. So this is a good option. However, when I was on my bike turning left - hand signal way out, and I heard the put put put of one of these cars pulling around my left, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I saw my head hitting the pavement pretty hard. And I screamed at the idiot to get a licence as he screamed something vulgar at me.

The moral of the licence-less car is: I'd rather my husband didn't drive at all, but limiting our vacation possibilities, than have one of these ridiculous fake cars that makes French drivers even more dangerous.
(There are even different "realer" cars like the sports-car type or the fake-station wagon. Could you imagine driving around in a sports car that could only go 45km/h?)


Pardon My French said...

I have my doubts about this option for the reason you described. Are they expected to just read a book and sign a paper 'on their honor' or what? I first found out about these cars when listening to the autoroute radio station one summer...apparently there was one of these cars on the loose on the highway and the police were looking for him/her.

Samantha said...

The worst part is that 90% of the people driving these cars are either drunks who've lost their license (and who think that they can now drink and drive because they can't go fast) or old people who's children have taken their license away.

Which is why I always give people driving these cars a WIDE berth. *S*

Papadesdeux said...

Oh, this stuff just makes me crazy. It is even worse (well maybe) than letting the kids ride around on the scooters just because they don't go fast enough to be on the freeway.

I was sitting at a stop light the other night. And zooming past through the red light, a teenager I presume, no lights. Not even a hesitation at the stop light.

And this happens all the time.

I'm glad to see it is not just a case of my being an old curmudgeon.

Amy H said...

All of the 80+s in my neighborhood drive these. If they lost their license from drinking, they just drive their tractor to the supermarket.

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