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02.05.2007 General News

DVLA’s new licensing policy is bogus

By Nii Kwaku Osabutey ANNY

Some already licensed drivers and driving school instructors have joined in the condemnation of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority's (DVLA) decision to issue only educated or literate persons with driving licenses from next year.

The DVLA's decision according to Chief Executive Joe Osei Owusu will affect both commercial and private vehicle drivers, with the Authority insisting among others that the reckless driving on the roads is attributable to the non-educated drivers on the road.

Referring to a survey on road safety said to have been conducted by ING in 2004, the DVLA says those with education better appreciate risks on the roads than the uneducated.

But a number of drivers interviewed find the DVLA's position amusing, arguing among others that there are illiterate drivers who are better drivers, much more careful and understand road signs & markings better than educated ones.

Johnny Quayson works with a private software firm in Accra and uses a company vehicle. He told the dailyEXPRESS that the DVLA decision which comes into effect next year is not an answer to reckless driving and accidents on the roads.

“I think the DVLA should take a second look at the decision. In as much as I agree that our roads have become dangerous because of the way people drive, I don't believe the decision will be the panacea to either halt or totally eradicate bad driving on our roads.”

According to Quayson, most educated people equally drive recklessly.

“I was driving to work one morning and this nicely dressed gentleman overtook about four vehicles ahead of him without warning lights. He did not even stop till he got to the ofankor barrier,” he told the dailyEXPRESS.

While he agrees that drivers should be taken through some defensive driving lessons, he does not wholly support the idea that academic qualification should be an additional entry requirement for one to possess a driving lesson.

Mr. Quayson cited the example of one of his company's drivers who has been driving for the past three decades, but without formal education but drives “so wonderfully that you'll find it hard to believe.”

The Chairman of the 37 branch of the Tema/Ashiaman Drivers Union Kwame Anom speaking to the dailyEXPRESS in his office registered his union's disagreement with the new policy, adding that it is not everybody who will be fortunate enough to get formal education.

“It's my hope and that of many that this very policy is looked at again. Most of us here at the station were not fortunate to make it school not because we did not want, but circumstances beyond us,” he said.

Mr. Anom says the driving profession is contributing to the reduction in unemployment figures, adding that any policy intended to prevent those interested in pursuing a career in driving will not be a wise one.

“The current level of unemployment is so worrying that people are now trying to look out for something to do. Even those with education are finding it difficult to get jobs, so what about those of us who have never set foot in the classroom,” he asked this reporter rhetorically with his eyes facing the ground.

Mr. Anom said most of the drivers have not been to school yet they drive so well because his outfit takes them through series of education on road safety regulations.

Francis Annan Mensah of the McAshley Driving School at Labone is also against the new policy, lamenting that it will equally affect the driving schools.
He told this paper that it is inappropriate for anyone to equate reckless driving to the lack of formal education.

“What one needs is the common sense. You should be able to differentiate the different road signs and that is where we come in,” he said.

Acknowledging though that education normally helps one's appreciation of the rules and regulations, he believes those without education can equally drive well once they go through the driving school system.

Source: dailyEXPRESS Newspaper