Swiss learners only taking 5 lessons before driving test, instructors claim
According to a new study by 20 Minuten, instructors across the country have reported that young people are taking less and less time to learn to drive in Switzerland. The newspaper found that under-25s are taking just five or six lessons before trying to get their driving license, to the detriment of road safety and etiquette.
Young people taking fewer driving lessons
Speaking to 20 Minuten, Elvis Listl, driving instructor at Modern Drive in Bern, said that “on average, Swiss people need 16 to 25 lessons before they are ready for the driving test.” However in the last five years, “Young adults, in particular under the age of 25, have tried to get through the test with just five or six driving lessons," he added.
Listl argued that most young people don’t take driving seriously anymore: “They only want to complete it on the side. Many are not willing to sacrifice their free time for driving lessons. They prefer to practice privately instead of making fixed appointments with driving instructors.” What’s more, he said that many would prefer to avoid paying significant amounts for tuition and “try to pass it [on their own], somehow” - perhaps not surprising, given lessons in Zurich cost around 85 francs an hour.
Less qualified drivers increase roads risks in Switzerland
"The fact that learners prefer to practice privately instead of attending driving lessons is not entirely without risk," noted Rudolf Schneider, driving instructor at Cityfahrschule. He explained that less-qualified drivers can lead to problems on the road, as motorists with fewer lessons under their belts are not as aware and are not able to quickly react to dangers, increasing the chances of a road accident.
He added that driving etiquette on Swiss roads and motorways is not instilled in young people that don't learn with instructors, impacting things such as giving way, the “Swiss zip” and other manoeuvres. According to Schnieder, young men under the age of 25 and the most likely to try and complete the test as fast as possible as they are “more impatient” and have a stronger desire for independence.
Fewer driving lessons yet to affect pass rates in Switzerland
For Michael Gehrken, the President of L-Drive Switzerland, the umbrella organisation for all driving instructors, “Especially in the first driving lessons, the key basics are taught. Anyone who only practices privately for a long time often learns wrong processes that can only be corrected later with great effort.”
However, he noted that while driving standards have declined in recent years, this hasn’t been reflected in a fall in the number of new drivers - Swiss cantons that spoke to 20 Minuten reported that the pass rate for new drivers has remained the same as previous years.