The driving licence and the risks of relying on standards

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Sociologist, Paris-Est University, IFSTTAR (Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l'aménagement et des réseaux : French scientific and technological institute for transport, development and

Seminar Entrepreneurs, towns and regions | Wednesday February 2, 2011 - 8h45 - 10h45

In an attempt to control State expenditure, a French law (LOLF : la loi organique relative aux lois de finances) was implemented which established new standards to assess every activity in the public sector and to fix objectives to improve efficiency. The driving test in order to obtain a driving licence is no exception to this rule : it is carried out by the State using driving and road safety inspectors. Financiers, who were responsible for determining the standards, decided that the success rate of candidates taking their test for the first time should be reconsidered. The existence of these standards might encourage inspectors to raise the success rate in the future. The higher this first-time pass rate, the fewer the number of candidates who will have to re-sit the test. This would save money. However, this way of thinking ignores the human side of the inspectors and their sense of objectivity, and upsets them, making relations strained and generating a lack of motivation on their part.

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