Future drivers can start driving at 17

New laws on learning to drive:

Will future drivers be able to start driving at 17?

Future drivers can start driving at 17! In December 2018, the Federal Council approved changes to the requirements for a learner’s permit. Some changes began in January 2020. However, others will be applied from January 2021.

The main change is to shorten the additional training time during the probationary period – and to introduce the possibility of obtaining a learner’s driver’s license for passenger cars (category B) from the age of 17.

To this end, future drivers will be able to start driving at 17? In this article, you’ll find details of the main new features of the new driving license laws. Car Auto-Ecole Lémanique delivers all the information you need in real time. Enjoy reading the article.

Age for learner’s permit

From 2021, the age for receiving a learner’s permit will be lowered to 17. The decision was taken with a view to achieving several objectives:

  • Extend study time to increase experience;
  • Improve road safety, because according to the Federal Roads Office, multiple trips accompanied by adults reduce the risk of future accidents;
  • Draw inspiration from the positive results of the 14 European countries in terms of escort driving before the age of 18.

Possibility of driving a category B car from the age of 17

Indeed, in 2021, it will be possible to drive a category B car from the age of 17. For this purpose, the learner driver must be accompanied by a person over 23 with a 3-year and full license.

However, anyone under the age of 20 with a learner’s permit must drive for at least one year before taking the practical driving test.

Complementary training

From now on, additional training will last just one day and must be completed within one year of thedriving test. It will focus on driving practice and practice in real-life conditions.

The ability to brake effectively and on time in all circumstances is essential to avoid accidents. However, although emergency braking is an essential part of thedriving test itself, it is generally impossible to operate or verify due to high traffic density.

However, it can also be used at other existing training sites, which are highly suitable. Similarly, additional training will involve energy-efficient driving. In future, it may also be possible to train in simulators.

A learner’s permit can be issued to 17-year-olds?

Young people under the age of 17 are allowed to take part in passenger car training courses. From now on, those who obtain a learner’s permit before the age of 20 will benefit from a 12-month apprenticeship.

The resulting benefit for road safety is that the risk of an accident after passing the driving test itself is inversely proportional to the number of accompanied trips.

Since there is no need to raise the minimum age for obtaining a passenger car driver’s license, a learner’s permit can be issued to applicants aged 17.

Some vocational training courses require you to have a driving license from the age of 18. For those who obtain a learner’s permit after their twenties, the current regulations still apply.

Other measures in force since 2019

As of February 1, 2019, even if the test is taken from an automatic vehicle, you can still drive a manual vehicle.

Drivers with restricted licenses (automatic transmission) can have them withdrawn. They must contact the motor vehicle department, except in the case of medical exceptions.

In this respect, the obligation to provide an ophthalmological report when the visual acuity value is close to the limit has been abolished in order to obtain a driver’s license. A physical examination by a doctor or qualified optician is always necessary.

In the end, the blue paper permit is destined to disappear and be replaced by the “credit card” version. To this end, you must exchange your permits before January 31, 2024.

Reforms for motorcycle driving licenses

From 2021, motorcycle driving laws will also undergo a change: For example, the driving of two-wheelers with high power output must be conditional on a Class A driving license limited to 35 kW.

Obtain a class “A” driving licence limited to 35 kW

The minimum age for driving 50 cm3 scooters, electric motorcycles with 4 kW motors and vehicles with a speed limit of 45 km/h has been lowered to 15. 125 cm3 motorcycles will no longer be used from the age of 18, but rather from the age of 16.

In future, anyone wishing to drive the most powerful motorcycle will have to obtain a Class A licence limited to 35 kW for at least two years.

Only those who absolutely need to drive a motorcycle as part of their career (e.g. motorcycle mechanics, police officers or traffic experts) can still obtain the corresponding category directly. Training courses and exams will remain valid indefinitely. These are :

  • Traffic theory course ;
  • Basic practical advice :
  • Exam (theory and practice).

Driving license applicants already benefit from the unlimited validity of theory courses and related tests. Previously, people who passed the theory test had 2 years to register for a driving test.

Introduction of EU-compliant motorcycle categories

Note that from January 1, 2021, anyone under 16 in Switzerland will be able to ride a 125cc motorcycle. The objective set by the EU is to harmonize the Swiss categories with the corresponding EU categories – and to lower the minimum driving age. In future, therefore, 125 cm3 bikes will be available to riders aged 16 and over.

In addition, the new EU category AM (for light motorcycles) (maximum speed 45 km/h, maximum engine capacity 50 cm3 or power 4 kW) will be integrated into the A1 subcategory. The minimum age for the latter is 15.

From the age of 15, you can drive motorcycles and scooters with a capacity of up to 50 cm3 and speeds of up to 45 km/h. You must first take a 1st aid course and undergo an eye test. Please note that applications for a learner’s permit can be submitted up to two months before the minimum age. Registration for the theory test can be made one month in advance, if the conditions are met.

Of course, you can’t drive before the age of 15. Once you’ve passed the theory test and obtained your temporary license, you’ll be given 4 months to take part in a 12-hour practical course at a motorcycle school.

Your temporary license will then be extended for a further 12 months, during which time you’ll need to take a practical test to obtain a full license (“subcategory A1” with a maximum speed of 45 km/h).

Between obtaining a learner’s permit and passing the final practical test, an 8-hour theoretical course on road traffic (called “sensibilisation”) must be taken.

Unlimited validity of training courses and examinations

Courses taken (such as traffic theory courses and basic practical training for motorcycle drivers) and examinations passed(theory tests, practical tests) are in principle valid indefinitely.

Entry into force and transitional provisions

The new supplementary training came into force on January 1, 2020. As a result, since that date, anyone who has changed from a trial to a permanent driving license no longer needs to take the additional training (abbreviated training), which lasts just one day. This rule also applies to those who have completed the first day of additional training in accordance with current legislation.


The minimum age for obtaining a learner’s permit for cars will come into force on January 1, 2021. The same goes for lowering the minimum age for motorcycle categories – and eliminating direct access to the most powerful bikes.

As a result, A1 licence holders aged between 16 and 18 will immediately be allowed to drive 125 cm3. From January 1, 2021, all training courses and exams will be valid indefinitely.

And if you have any concerns about this, our site is fully prepared to guide you through the entire process. So don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, or subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with all the latest driver’s license news.

Car Auto-Ecole Lémanique is the driving school that gives you more freedom to take driving lessons.

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