PHILIPSBURG—The Legislation requiring mandatory driving license road tests to be carried out using only manual transmission vehicles will soon become a thing of the past. Acting TEATT Minister Omar Ottley recently signed the LBHAM to amend the existing (landsbesluit inrichting rijexams). The existing legislation mandates that the road test for prospective drivers be carried out in manual transmission vehicles only.
However, once the relevant departments and the Council of Advice vet the proposed amendment to the LBHAM, persons taking their driving exams can decide if they want to take their road test using an automatic or manual transmission vehicle.
Ottley said, “The challenges experienced by persons taking driving examinations were reviewed by the Ministry. This was necessary, especially considering that the process has not been updated to reflect the changing times.”
The Ministry of TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunication) has been working on the changes to the driving test as part of its goal to modernize and simplify processes. Ottley said the work that the Ministry of TEATT has done to identify the challenges with the driver’s license testing process was “commendable.”
Many people on the island have expressed concerns about the driving license process. As Government, we cannot ignore the comments. Still, we must take a measured approach towards improvements wherever necessary. The driving test system at present is one such area that needs to be revamped.”
The Ministry conducted an extensive study into the driver’s license testing process and identified short, mid and long term adjustments that it believes will significantly improve the experience for driving license candidates. The study included a closer look at the type of imported vehicles over the past five years. According to the release, the amendment to allow testing using automatic transmission vehicles is only the beginning. Taking examinations using only cars with manual transmission was identified as one of the main areas of concern.
Ottley said the decision took into consideration a recent survey which indicates 90 per cent of the vehicles sold are automatic vs only 10 per cent being manual transmission. The Vehicle Inspection Centre also suggested that most inspections are carried out on cars with automatic transmission.
“We know that although people take their driving test using manual transmission vehicles, they buy an automatic vehicle once they pass their exam. This shows that learning to drive the standard/manual transmission vehicle was a formality, in most cases,” said Ottley.
The Minister said maintaining examinations in vehicles with manual transmissions as the only option no longer reflected the reality of the island.