Govt. to test drivers before licencesing

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The new curriculum developed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will now require drivers to undergo 24 to 160 hours of training before being issued with a driving license.

According to NTSA Director-General Francis Meja, the development of the curriculum was necessitated by the fact that road traffic accidents kill more than 3,000 people in Kenya every year, with 80 per cent of these crashes being a result of human related factors.

The units to be covered under the curriculum include vehicle construction and controls, self-inspection of vehicles, vehicle control or manoeuvre yard, and communication on the road, space management, adverse driving conditions, emergency procedures and customer care.

Meanwhile, driving school instructors are undergoing training on the new curriculum to enable them to equip their students with the necessary skills.

A proportion of reckless driving by matatus has been attributed to drivers being too young and lacking the necessary experience resulting in accidents.

“Drivers have a high level of responsibility and their actions can influence the lives of many people, especially the drivers of PSVs (Public Service Vehicles) and HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles),” Meja said.

“It is therefore important that these drivers are highly skilled and experienced. The curriculum states minimum levels of driving experience that are required before training can begin for these classes of vehicles.”

According to the curriculum, one will need to be at least 25 years old to drive a mini-bus of 14-32 passengers.

Drivers will be classified into six different categories according to the complexity of the vehicles.

“The new categories of drivers are motorcycle riders, light vehicle drivers, professional light vehicle drivers, Public Service Vehicle drivers, motorcycle and three-wheel drivers, truck drivers, special professional drivers and industrial construction and agricultural machine operators.”

One of the mandates of the authority is to establish systems and procedures for and overseeing the training, testing and licensing of drivers.

“Therefore, the need to provide sufficient education and skills to enable our drivers to use and follow rules and regulations became a priority,” he explained.

“Drivers have a high sense of responsibility and their actions can affect lives of many people.”

The curriculum which will be rolled out in October.