The number of people who acquired driving licences in the last three years is 72.7 percent higher than the number of vehicles and motorcycles in the country.

The number of people who acquired driving licences in the last three years is 72.7 percent higher than the number of vehicles and motorcycles in the country.

According to the traffic police department, 146,776 people have acquired driving licences since 2009, 10 percent female.

31,031 people, according to the report, acquired licences in 2009, while 31,837 and 38,908 obtained them in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

By mid last year, there were only about 85,000 vehicles and motorcycles in the country.

Over 249 000 people sat for provisional and practical tests last year, which saw over Rwf 1.7 billion raised in registration fees.

Each candidate who sits for a theoretical test pays Rwf 5,000 as registration fee while those seeking to sit for a practical one pay Rwf 10,000.

However, of the 150,824 who sat for provisional tests last year, only 62,552 passed while only 50,914 out of 98,188 who sat for the practical test during the same period passed.

According to the police traffic chief, Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa, the percentage of failures is still high due to lack of road traffic knowledge.

“Most of them fail because they don’t revise and decide to try their luck since they [tests] are multiple choices,” Twahirwa noted.

He lambasted owners of driving schools for not offering quality services, a factor he insisted led to failure.

Reports indicated that some candidates bribe driving schools’ proprietors to be precipitately registered to sit for the driving test.

While the substantial driving tests are conducted once in two months, those in driving schools are conducted every month.

A case in point includes the Remera-based United Driving School, which, Tuesday brought over 800 students to undergo practical tests on Thursday. According to the traffic police, it is impossible to train such a huge number in just one month.

Over 9,800 driving school students on Thursday sat for the theory and practical tests countrywide while the registration for the massive tests, which kicked off the same day, is scheduled to end on February 12.

“We initiated a programme to inspect [driving] schools periodically to ensure that they offer standardised services, attendance and their capacity. We need them to issue certificates of attendance to certify that the students they seconded to do tests are actually theirs,” he added.

Currently, there are over 44 driving schools in the country, but not more than 30 are accredited.

Meanwhile, Twahirwa disclosed that the traffic police department is in process of establishing a data bank of all driving test questions for the last three years to facilitate those aspiring to acquire a licence.

The questions, he added, will be issued to all driving schools and can also be accessed on the website for revision.

In a related development, the traffic department has upgraded its e-Registration system, through which the public could access all services via an SMS including registration, test results and tracking the status of a driving permit . For instance, those seeking to know if their driving licence was processed or when it would be out can send the following SMS to 3126 – dI-space-national ID number.

“We want to digitalise all our services, including fines, so that if one is handed a fine, they receive an SMS indicating why they were fined and how much they are supposed to pay. This system will also be connected to the banking system to get feedback that one has paid the fine,” Twahirwa explained.

This, he said, is aimed at offering quality services, accuracy and proper record keeping.

By Bosco R. Asiimwe, The New Times

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