Trainee drivers will from next month begin sitting a written test under the recently revised National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) testing guidelines.
The strict syllabus will see drivers only get licences after passing the elaborate test comprising theory and practical exams complete with periodic continuous assessment tests.
“The theoretical test shall consist of a continuous assessment test administered after every 40 hours of training and a final test at the end of all the units in a module. The test shall comprise a minimum of 50 multiple-choice questions,” read the NTSA guidelines.
“A performance report is prepared for each learner driver. He or she must demonstrate skills in both theory and practical lessons by attaining a pass mark of 80 percent.”
Under the current mode of testing, new drivers are tried on the theory part on a model town roads board, which checks for proficiency in road rules.
It remains unclear how the written tests will be taken by illiterate drivers but the deep curriculum may prove difficult for aspiring drivers with limited ability to read and write especially for the theory lessons
Under the practical test the learner driver is tested in a training yard to evaluate his ability to manoeuvre under different set conditions and then taken to the road to negotiate most traffic situations in a skilled and safe manner.
A learner driver must pass the manoeuvre yard test before proceeding to take the road test, according to the guidelines which subject the learners to a retake like those given in colleges.
One will not be allowed to take another test before 21 days after failing exams with those who fail theory exams required to retake the entire examination while one who fails a practical exam is required to re-sit the practical within a period not exceeding six months or register afresh and redo the course.
Unlike the previous training the drivers will now delve deep into topics like traffic safety as well as explore the impact of traffic crashes and acceptable alcohol limits.
For those aiming to drive Public Service Vehicles, the bar is even higher, since they will be required to master vehicle construction and controls, self-inspection of vehicles, communication on the road, speed management, emergency manoeuvres, skid control and customer care among other skills.
They will also need to be trained on anti-carjacking techniques.