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Young people and the car: stop or else?


All smiles, Angèle is at the wheel. In ” Yes or no », The clip of the Belgian singer’s latest hit, life seems perfect. But she loses control of the vehicle and ends up in the background. With this little gem of black humor riddled with devious advertisements, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter scuttles the consumer society’s promises of happiness. This is not his first attempt. Since ” Murphy’s Law »In 2017, Angèle likes to knock out clichés and pretenses.

And this time it’s the car she has in her sights. Is she on the wrong track? Or does it illuminate, in its own way, a rejection of the car by young people more concerned about the future of the planet? The trial is not new. Already in 1963, Jean-Luc Godard filmed in ” contempt »A road accident as stupid as it is violent. The victim was played by Brigitte Bardot, 29. But ” Yes or no Is not a twilight film by the Swiss master – but a caustic clip seen by millions of young people.

What is their relationship to the car today? Do they still want to drive? Is the automobile still an object of desire? For the knowledge, Obs commissioned the YouGov institute to conduct an exclusive survey of drivers under 35 (1), millennials (the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s) and young adults (born in the early 2000s).

First lesson, those of the Paris region are the smallest riders: 37% of them have traveled less than 1,000 kilometers in the last twelve months, against 14% for all the young people questioned. It is not a surprise. With an extensive public transport offer (excluding strike periods, of course) and a stifling housing budget, the car is not a priority.

READ ALSO : Transport strike: alternatives to the test bench

Except in the big crown, when you have no choice. Alice, 20, in BTS biotechnology in Essonne, took her license when she was 18. I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible, she explains. It prepared him for accompanied driving, a more profitable apprenticeship to pass the exam (74% success against 55% by the traditional course). In the morning, her father, who drives a service car, drops her off at the RER station. But when there are train problems, I borrow my parents’ one, a Peugeot 208, and I take my friends on the way “, she recounts. To go out at night, she also uses the precious vehicle – public transport, at night, I avoid ….

Driving is freedom »- Lélia, 18 years old

Ella, a 17-year-old high school student, will soon take her prepared license, like Alice, in accompanied driving. His project ? This summer, after the baccalaureate and her birthday, borrow her mother’s car and leave with her gang: If you take the train, you will not be able to reach the campsite, and with a car, if it rains, rather than staying in the tent with our wet bags, we could take shelter! enthuses the young girl. Having dreams of freedom, the desire to travel around the Dordogne or the Breton hinterland with friends, difficult without a car of your own.

Lélia, 18, a medical student in Toulouse, plans to go to Spain with her friends. The first time she drove after the license, one of them photographed her driving her father’s car and posted the image on social media. So next summer will be the festival! Driving is freedom and coming of age “, believes the student, who hopes to own her own car very soon, a key element of the planned lifestyle.

READ ALSO : Do cars still have a soul?

Hugo, 27, seller in Lyon, is himself the owner ofa Citroën Picasso that[il a] bought used. As party animal as he is athletic, he uses it to go home to his parents in Auvergne. There, we can’t do without a car, whether for rugby matches on Sunday or for evenings with friends. I often do Sam, he specifies. In 2005, Road Safety invented the character of Sam, the driver designated to stay sober. From the first slogan “The one who drives is the one who does not drink”, young people are directly targeted by prevention campaigns against drinking and driving.

Rightly so, because it is still responsible for 24% of fatal accidents among 18-24 year olds. It is even worse among 25-34 year olds (30%), against less than 15% for other ages. So Respect, Sam, says the last campaign Respect to you who protect, to you who save. No doubt more complicated is to imagine a Sam “who does not do drugs”, because if alcohol is legal, drugs are not. Then, because if you drink in a group instead, you do not necessarily consume cannabis and other substances accompanied. In the end, it was a massacre: 28% of 18-24 year old drivers and 37% of 25-34 year olds who died on the road had consumed narcotics. 93% were men …

63% of young drivers use a car to work or study

But beyond these terrifying numbers, there is an overwhelming majority of responsible young drivers who drive first to get around during the day. According to YouGov, 63% mainly use the car to go to work or study, with more girls doing so (67%) than boys (57%). On the other hand, the latter take it more readily for leisure: 37%, against 30% for girls.

And the others, why do they do without a car? 43% say they just don’t see the point and 24% say it’s too expensive. The order of the answers is a real surprise. Indeed, the car – an increasingly technological tool and subject to increasingly drastic standards – constitutes a heavy expense, even when it is bought second-hand. And the late entry into “non-precarious” working life (who gets a first permanent job?) Limits the budgets of young people. Logically, the cost of a car should be the main reason for giving it up but, pragmatically, they trade off their needs. And the vehicle, as long as it is not essential, is not a priority.

This is, without doubt, the real difference with previous generations. The automobile has become commonplace but above all, in the digital age, with multiple apps and subscriptions, the notion of ownership is blurring in favor of that of use. In the same way, we no longer buy CDs, we subscribe to streaming platforms, we resell what we do not use, we favor the flow over stocks and experience over possession. Antoine, 26, a data scientist in Lille, does not drive and is doing very well. My girlfriend has her car, and when I come back to Normandy with my family, they pick me up at the station.The young specialist in AI (artificial intelligence) will only drive when he has no choice. For the moment, like 81% of the young people questioned, he takes public transport.

The younger we are, the more we use carpooling

Ultraconnected, both homebody (do we order pizza?) and ultramobile, young people juggle between traditional means of transport and new offers (electric scooters, car rental between individuals, self-service bicycles, car-sharing, etc.) without forgetting BlaBlaCar. According to our survey, carpooling is conceivable for 51% of young drivers. It is even An evidence for 19% of them, with a nuance according to the age group: 27% for 18-24 year olds and only 14% for 25-34 year olds. In other words, the younger you are, the easier it is to ride with strangers. Conversely, recourse to a third party is out of the question for 15% of respondents: 11% of 18-24 year olds and 17% of 25-34 year olds.

So the good old passenger car hasn’t had its last word. In fact, almost a third (32%) of those who have not driven for a year intend to one day buy a car. Here again, it all depends on the age group, 18-24 year olds are even much more enthusiastic than 25-34 year olds (46% and 16% respectively). Another difference between them, if 36% of young people do not plan to use one in the future, this only concerns 20% of 18-24 year olds against … 54% of 25-34 year olds.

I would like to have a car but … I know it pollutes “- Ella, 17 years old

Contrary to what one might imagine, the youngest are therefore more open to the idea of ​​holding a steering wheel than their elders! Pragmatic, and probably more optimistic than one might say, they see the advantage of having, one day, a vehicle of their own. Finally, they more readily associate the words “freedom” (34% for 18-24 year olds and 27% for 25-34 year olds) and “pollution” (21% and 12%) with the automobile than “necessity” ( 27% and 34%) and “expenditure” (13% and 20%). There are two sides to me, I wish I had a car, but I know it pollutes “, concludes young Ella. His hope? “That it is not deleted but improved.We are often right when we are 17 years old.

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(1) Study carried out by YouGov France from January 23 to 27, 2020 among 1,013 people representing the French national population aged between 18 and 34. The survey was carried out on the YouGov France proprietary panel.



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