Retaking driving licences: bad idea
It is true that “it’s going to be a nightmare to implement.”
If your statement, “we make a silent promise to ourselves to ignore everything we learnt from that driving school instructor, ” is true, then I am sorry to say it, but all those drivers were probably very badly taught by equally badly-trained driving instructors, (probably unregistered, illegal driving instructors too!)
Low driver training standards result in high carnage on our roads:
Low standards of driving instruction by driving instructors who do not know how to convey respect for the law, and defensive driving standards will naturally cause contempt for the K53 standard, which results in a temporary flimsy attempt to comply with requirements to pass by the average new driver, (such as “checks their mirrors 15 times before taking off or uses their handbrake at every stop street or incline”), (as well as taking a minimum number of driving lessons, just to pass), which is quickly replaced by copying the low driving standard of the average members of the public, as soon as the licence is passed.
The Government is responsible for the road carnage:
While we at SAIDI wish to work amicably with the authorities, we have to say that through the Government’s refusal to allow all driving instructors to be correctly trained when the K53 standard was first introduced 26 years ago, and still to this day, we today have a disaster on our hands with the highest road carnage in the world in our country, and they are still putting the cart before the horse with this proposed legislation. This is another example of that attitude.
This is precisely what we at SAIDI have said since the K53 standard was introduced in 1989.
THIS IS ALSO EXACTLY WHY SAIDI BELIEVES EXCELLENT, FULLY-SUBSIDIZED, TRAINING SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO EVERY DRIVING INSTRUCTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA AS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY.
DON’T TELL US WE CAN’T AFFORD IT!
CAN WE AFFORD THE ALTERNATIVE COSTS TO THE ECONOMY?
We have been advocating, officially since 2009, at the First International Road Safety Convention held in Cape Town, for the establishment of a training centre, to offer fully-comprehensive driving instructor training in all official languages, to educate and train all driving instructors, for the first time in South Africa, in every single relevant aspect of the law, the practical implementation of the law, basic driver training techniques, defensive and advanced driver training on all codes of vehicles.
Despite our unrelenting requests to the Department of Transport, Provincial Departments, the RTMC and every other possible department since 2009 until now, the Government has done nothing as yet to help us to realise these essential proposals!
We at SAIDI are ready to change that but unless the Government legislates this, and makes this step compulsory, the introduction of enforced re-testing of licenced drivers is premature and counter-productive.
OUR ROAD FATALITY STATISTICS DEMAND THAT WE TAKE SERIOUS STEPS TO ADDRESS THE CARNAGE EFFECTIVELY. NOT ONLY THAT – THE LAWLESSNESS ON OUR ROADS TOO!
Once the National Training Centre is established, National accreditation for every attendee, on completion of passing of the stringent standards, which we propose to implement at this training centre, (which will meet all the needs of every driving instructor in the country, including literacy classes, customer relations, computer literacy, and full DNA and other forms of identification and polygraph testing to curtail the very serious levels of corruption in our industry), will soon begin to raise the general standard of drivers countrywide. Road fatalities will decrease. Lawlessness with be reduced. The population will frown on law-breakers. Society in South Africa will become law-compliant in general.
High standards of driving begin with high standards of driving instruction:
At the First Summit for Driving Schools ever held in South Africa on 22nd March 2013, which was hosted by the DOT and RTMC, and attended by over 800 driving instructors from around the country (which is a drop in the ocean of actual people involved in the industry), which was addressed by members of the four National Driving School Associations, and speakers from the NDSF as honorary guest speakers, the Minister of Transport at the time, Mr Dikobe Ben Martins, did not even attend this prestigious occasion, despite the planned date being set to suit his diary.
Let’s face it – the Government have always put very little value on the driving instruction industry and the value of excellent driver training:
We notice great emphasis is always placed on the effects of bad driving standards, especially as we approach Christmas and Easter holidays, when we hear, year after year, with sinking hearts, how many people have died on our roads, yet the root cause is never seen as a significant factor.
We at SAIDI have plans to reach every sector of South African society, by ensuring that all the fully-trained instructors serve their communities with integrity, dedication, skill and passion.
DRIVING INSTRUCTION IS A PROFESSION CARRYING VERY SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITIES:
Sadly, at the moment it is anything but a professional industry!
Driving instructors in general, are perceived to be corrupt and single-mindedly pursuing personal gain:
It is not to say that all instructors are not dedicated to training every single client to the highest possible standard, but those who do the job properly are presumed and perceived by the authorities to be on a par with the far greater proportion who are corrupt fly-by-night instructors, which means we are often without the support and respect our profession deserves from both the authorities and the public.
There are some really bad guys in the driving school industry:
Just because we are such a diverse unregulated group, with so many rotten eggs working, robbing the public, buying and bribing examining officials without anything to stop them, in our industry, we are all tarred with the same brush.
Stakeholders in the Driving School Industry are disregarded by the Government:
Laws are passed in Draft Gazettes without consulting the Stakeholders in the Industry. Once again, it is all about passing laws to discriminate against the legal driving instructors, while continuing to allow the unregistered, illegal, fly-by-nights to continue with their unscrupulous activities! Our input is generally disregarded despite the fact that we are the ones dealing with the public needing licences, their families, the examiners, the DLTC’s (Driving Licence Testing Centres) and the Government authorities.
For example, legal driving instructors were not even afforded the opportunity to comment on the new K53 standard prior to the final date for comments recently. We must apparently comment along with the general public when it is made available to us.
Draft laws have been gazetted introducing Provisional licences, yet we have yet to be enlightened as to how they are to be implemented, but we will be required to explain the new laws to the new drivers.
Many new laws have been introduced in Draft Government Gazettes, for the first time for Driving Schools, but we have not been permitted to discuss the laws with the law-makers. Our opinions and relevent concerns are disregarded.
We agree that it is true that a vast number of people involved in driver training are corrupt, ill-equipped and determined to make money first and foremost, instead of focusing on excellent training of drivers in all codes of vehicles, but it is most certainly not the case for all driving instructors!
The public fear re-tests:
The comment, “The truth is, many of us fear the prospect of being retested. I for one probably wouldn’t pass the way I drive now. I’ve picked up way too many bad habits from too many bad drivers over the years. I think the majority of the driving population probably shares similar sentiments,” is 100% true!
All the more reason for compulsory refresher courses:
Actually, while it is admirably honest, let’s face it – it is nothing to be proud of to claim to have gained numerous bad habits in our driving. It is very serious life-threatening not only to the driver but the public too. Doesn’t it possibly indicate a rebellious attitude and contempt, (which is so prevalent) towards our road laws?
We all have a responsibility to ensure that we drive to an exceptionally high standard, not just the “experts” in the driving industry. This should not have to be imposed on us by legislation and law enforcement. It should come from within, due to our personal convictions based on excellent original driver training. No matter what age, we should have sufficient pride
However the standard of the average driver in South Africa is very low with respect to law compliance, courtesy, patience, driving skills, particularly in emergency situations, hazard perceptions and attitude.
So until excellent training and stringent qualifications of every single driving instructor in the country is implemented, I must sadly agree with this statement: “So I assume that should this proposal actually get the go-ahead, thousands will be running off to driving schools to “relearn” how to drive properly for the purpose of passing the test. Once the test its over we will return to our regular habits,” which, we agree, turns the whole exercise into a revenue-generating attempt, while masquerading as a serious attempt to reduce road fatalities in South Africa.
As National President of SAIDI – The Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors, I fully agree with the statement that “Driving schools of course are going to coin it.”
Despite the potential for great financial gain in our industry should this law be passed, we at SAIDI must emphatically condemn this proposed legislation, for this very reason, until our recommended plans are seriously considered, implemented and applied.
There can be no doubt that South Africans definitely require re-training and refresher programmes in order to effectively curtail the daily escalating road fatalities, injuries, disabilities, plus the massive financial losses to the economy and to individuals, as well as the appalling emotional pain caused by the present arrogance of a very high percentage of our population, who believe that lawless driving is their right.
When did we, as a Nation, lose all respect for South African Law?
I sometimes wonder if it possible that our political history and contempt for the law-makers, either in the old regime or the present, has somehow rubbed off on the majority of drivers and been translated into a general disregard for law and the rights of others?
Driving instructors must first receive excellent training and accreditation before introducing re-training of drivers:
We at SAIDI can and have proposed a far more practical and acceptable way of upgrading the previously licenced drivers standards, which will definitely not be a money-making project, without blackmailing the population into a “be re-tested or no driving licence – (which means your working and social life grinds to a halt unless you somehow obtain a bought licence system).
The proposed re-testing of drivers will lead to massive corruption because it will disadvantage the entire population by refusing to re-issue licences. This is very irresponsible legislation!
Of course corruption will be rife if this law is passed! There is absolutely no doubt about that.
The entire population’s ability to generate an income will be jeopardised unless they can obtain renewals of driving licences, so they are going to get them any way they can.
Should the present low standard of driving be permitted to continue?
No – Most definitely not!
Something definitely has to be done to stop arrogant drivers continuing to consider themselves above the law.
You so rightly state, “In fact, the only people who actually follow the rules are learner drivers who we happen to think are assholes for driving 60km/h when the rest of us are doing 120km/h in the Makro car park.”
Lawlessness and arrogant attitudes:
We very quickly blame taxi drivers for shocking driving, (and many are guilty of it), but the ordinary member of the public from meek housewives to wealthy businessmen and women and politicians, and every other category in-between, apparently consider themselves as being superior to the existing road laws, which are apparently applicable to everyone but themselves, and that they are entitled to ignore and abuse them?
Are learner drivers the only law-keepers on South African roads?
Why should learner drivers alone be attempting to apply the laws of the country on our roads? Why is it that learner drivers so abused by the impatient, excessively rude average driver when they comply with the law?
Low Testing Standards and Corruption in the Driving School Industry:
You state, ” What we do need is to ensure that testing is done correctly the first time. Root out corruption and rework the driver education syllabus so that it’s something that people can implement long term, not just during those 30 minutes or so of the driving test.”
Here I agree with your sentiments 100%.
While the K53 test standard is slated by so many, it is in fact an excellent test standard, despite so many people condemning it for various reasons. I say this as an advanced driver and an advanced driving instructor.
Putting the cart before the horse:
The fact of the matter is that the K53 test was implemented in 1989 without any training for driving instructors at all!
When the K53 standard was originally introduced, the majority of driving instructors learnt what constituted failures by the failures of their clients! So our pupils became the guinea pigs of the system because the authorities did not understand the need to give excellent training to instructors back then.
Why have the public been allowed to be used and abused like this, both with respect to the cost of driving instruction from 1989 right up until the present time, as well as the road carnage for the last 40 years? We hold the authorities accountable for this! As soon as we begin to work successfully with one dedicated person in the Government, they are moved to a different portfolio and all our work towards upgrading the standard of driving instructors is lost.
When the driving school industry asked for the same training as the examining officers at the Traffic Training Colleges, we were refused, since we ran private businesses, but at what cost?
Millions of valuable lives have been lost to our country due to this attitude of those in authority. That attitude is still in place as we sit in Government meetings.
There is plenty of money for meetings but no money for driving instructor training:
We attend endless Summit meetings, at great cost to the economy, and listen to talk, talk, talk and promises which are never fulfilled.
Our Association was constituted as the training Association for driving instructors 40 years ago. We vigorously oppose all forms of corruption in our industry. Our motto is “Integrity is our Driving Force.”
You state, Masood Boomgaard, “What we need more, is stricter enforcement of traffic laws. Fines and warnings just don’t cut it anymore. Promising speedsters, reckless drivers and those who don’t wear seatbelts jail time would send a clear message and go a long way to sorting out the problems on our roads.” -The Sunday Tribune
Those of us in the driving school industry have made proposals regarding the essential need for a training centre for driving instructors directly to the Honorable Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, yet have not even received the courtesy of a reply.
Apparently a lack of funds (and a lack of interest perhaps?), prevents the national fully-subsidized call-up of every driving instructor, (whether registered or not), to receive the highest standard of training possible in their own first language, to spread this excellent standard to every new driver in the country.
Proposals to offer re-training to previously licenced drivers, and refresher courses at smaller satellite training centres for every one of those fully-trained and equipped driving instructors, in every village, town and city have been ignored. No calls for contributions from the private sector have been made in the interests of road safety in South Africa either.
Our proposals include educating children of all ages on road safety, keeping them safe after school, having retired teacher assistance and supervision of homework, a good nutritionally-balanced meal at midday for all children and retirees (to curtail malnutrition of these vulnerable members of society), a safe place to keep our children free from paedophiles while parents are working, and safe transportation to their front doors once parents are home after work form part of our proposal.
Evening classes for habitual offenders and refresher classes for the general driving population would avoid the need to implement this law, which is apparently well-meant, yet nothing but blackmail of the public with no genuine gain makes it a really bad idea all round.
Justice Project South Africa is horrified to learn that it is being reported that “government is in talks to soon introduce a system where metro police officers can randomly stop motorists and retest their driving”.
Whomever came up with this nonsensical notion should be fired immediately, before they get the opportunity to further facilitate corruption. Firstly, very few traffic officers, let alone metro police men or women are qualified driving licence examiners and secondly, randomised retesting is not the solution to the widespread systemic corruption in the issuing of driving licenses.
South Africa has known about the widespread systemic corruption in the issuing of driving licenses since it was revealed that more than 50% of the driving licenses issued between 1998 and 2002 were “defective” when it was announced by the Special Investigative Unit, yet absolutely nothing proactive has been done to tackle this known problem.
Contrary to the claim made by RTMC’s CEO Advocate Makhosini Msibi, the National Road Traffic Act does not empower any traffic officer to retest any person at random at the roadside, especially if they are not a qualified driving licence examiner.
The most obvious solution to the problem of so-called “defective” driving licenses is to require mandatory re-testing of drivers on renewal of their driving licenses every 5 years, but in order for this to be feasible, corruption must be eradicated.
Should the Department of Transport and their State Owned Corporations decide to proceed with this ridiculous, corruption-enabling idea, JPSA will not hesitate to stand in its way and do everything possible to prevent this illegal practice from proceeding.