Provision requiring licensed driving schools scrapped
THE JOINT Select committee examining the new Road Traffic Act on Wednesday removed a provision from the proposed law that would have made it mandatory for an applicant for a driver's licence to obtain a certificate of competence from a licensed driving institution.
During an intense debate on Clause 27 (1) (b) in the bill, committee chairman Dr Omar Davies told committee members that while he was not opposed to the establishment of licensed driving schools, he believed the requirement for a person applying for a driver's licence to complete a course at such an institution should be optional.
Ludlow Powell, head of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA), told members of the committee that persons who are trained to drive at approved driving schools are better drivers and more disciplined on the roads.
He said drivers who are not properly trained are believed to be responsible for most of the accidents on the nation's roads.
However, committee member Fitz Jackson said he had reservations about such an arrangement, noting that a parent or someone with the requisite knowledge and skills could train his child and prepare him for the competence test at the ITA.
In this case, he said a certificate of competence from a licensed driving institution would not be necessary.
Audrey Sewell, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, said it did not matter where the individual acquired the requisite competence, as long as he was able to satisfy the ITA's competence requirements.
During the deliberation, it was also highlighted that currently there is no requirement for drivers of motorcycles to pass a competence test.
Powell said this would change in the new legislation where drivers of motorcycles would be required to satisfy similar requirements to those applying for a driver's licence to operate a motor vehicle.
At present, persons with a learner's licence can drive a motorcycle, but are not allowed to carry a pillion rider.