Driving Test - Cause for road accidents in Kenya
21 February 2012, 14:17
The question of who owns a driving license is no longer
relevant in Kenya today. Commonly known as DL, the document has become a basic
requirement or an identification document for most Kenyans. I am not
against this milestone that the country has achieved. Gone are the days when a
village or estate was proud of having a qualified driver. Despite this is
current scenario, my experience at a driving school last week left me
dumbfounded about the purpose of a driving test.
If you look around in the estates and on the streets
today, you would agree with me that there are countless driving schools with
all kinds of sweet names, pampered with missions and visions for road users in
Kenya and East Africa. By the fact “Hospital Ceilings are boring”, I fully
commend these schools for being on the frontline in promoting road sanity and
Depending on your ability and the organization of the
school among other factors, a driving student can “move” a vehicle within a few
driving lessons but not drive. As such, schools strive to ensure that they
produce professional drivers who understand basic and fundamental driving
principles. With simplified curriculum and modern vehicle Class E and BCE training
takes an average of four weeks after which students are tested for competence
before being given an interim Driving license by the KRA.
After my 4 weeks of training, the day and hour for
testing came. Nevertheless, I never knew that a journey that had started at
seven in the morning was to end at seven in the evening. With a total of over
150 students against four test officers, it was clear that that was to be a
tiresome day for entire team. Although the exercise went on as scheduled, my
concern narrowed down to testing approach and credibility of the test.
Like many other Kenyans you are not informed, you will be
surprised to learn that Driving tests are always conducted by traffic police
inspectors. After the test, we interacted with “former” classmates and shared
experiences in the test room. At this point, I learnt that some of the students
had passed the test by only being asked one question, whereas others had been
exposed to almost ten questions. I am not lamenting about this disparity in questions.
What shocked me was how other students were disqualified for failing to answer
only one question correctly out of ten.
From my simple understanding of the test, it is meant to determine
the competence of students. How can competence be measured by one question like
“What does red traffic lights mean? Or “What is a vehicle?” Who doesn’t know
that “Red lights” mean STOP! Such questions form part of theory, which students
get exposed to during their four weeks of learning.
I have no idea if this training resembles in all training
centers, but my call to the Traffic Commandant of Kenya Police is to revise the
Driving Test carried out by officers weekly in the country. The entire process
does not allow one to ascertain the competence level of students, therefore
manufacturing incompetent drivers who significantly contribute to road carnage
in the country. But before the Traffic commandant reads this article and
parliament forms a tribunal to investigate the same, Driving Schools and other
learning institutions which cover Road Safety in their curricula should include
“Poor Driving Test, as cause of road accidents in Kenya today.”
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