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Driving Test - Cause for road accidents in Kenya

21 February 2012, 14:17 asekason

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 safety.

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.”

Disclaimer: News24Kenya encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24Kenya.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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