24.06.2015 Feature Article

What To Know As A Learner Driver

What To Know As A Learner Driver
24.06.2015 LISTEN

Every good driver I believe has undergone some kind of training, constant practice and repeated corrections to become the skilful and perfect driver perceived on the road. Whether you enrolled in one of the numerous driving institutions in the country or acquired the skills of driving through the assistance of another, you were once a learner.

Once you attain age 18 and intend to drive a motor vehicle, you are required by law to apply for a learner's licence from the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). Having successfully completed the necessary requirements, procedures and processes, you may be issued with a learner's licence which lasts for only three months, after which you may be issued with a drivers' licence depending on your competence.

Holding a steering wheel for the first time may sometimes be a little uneasy with instances of panic breaking, sudden steering changes, loss of vehicle control, nervousness, neck stiffing and so on. This way, you are prone to mistakes and not likely to succeed if not determined.

In as much as you try to remain more careful and upright on your seat, remember the following legal provisions as you drive to ensure your safety and the safety of other road users in order not to encounter the grilling of the law enforcer you most desire to avoid.

  • A learner is not permitted by law to drive on the road or public place without the assistance of a qualified driver or a licensed instructor.
  • The qualified driver is expected to occupy the seat nearest to the learner whilst he instructs the learner.
  • As a learner, you are not expected to drive a motor vehicle carrying any other passenger except the instructor only.
  • A learner must not be seen driving a vehicle between the hours of 7:00pm and 5:00am.
  • You are not required to have alcohol concentration above zero level in the blood or even the breathe of it, as a learner.
  • A learner needs not drive on the high-speed roads.
  • A learner must keep his driving limits not exceeding 50 km/hour.
  • Once you drive a motor vehicle as a learner, you need to affix at the back and front of the vehicle, two plates displaying letter 'L' for easy visibility.

Useful Rules On The Road
Taking a drive through some principal streets of Accra and other business cities nationwide during rush hours, it exhibits the level of indiscipline and lawlessness that is gradually creeping into our system. This has reached a stage where the wrong has automatically become right by standards of undisciplined and lawless drivers. It is even more disheartening seeing drivers drive on the shoulders of the road in attempt to evade traffic, trying to force their way through that of other motorists with guts and impudence. Sometimes you wonder whether there are rules governing driving in the country at all or motorists have their own set of laws they adhere to, to which I strongly disagree. Other times you begin to imagine the kind of future we are likely to have if the problem is left unmanaged.

There have been a lot of educational and sensitization programmes on road safety. There have been numerous periodic publications on road accidents and number of deaths by the Police Motor and Traffic units of the Ghana Police Service over years but the sense of road discipline has still not improved. What we need to know is that one act of indiscipline on the road could pose a threat to general road serenity.

For this reason, driving on the road has its own rules and these points are likely to remind drivers of what is mostly forgotten and abused.

  • It is an offence for a person driving a motor vehicle to overtake another vehicle either directly before or on a pedestrian crossing
  • A person driving a motor vehicle shall not drive on the shoulders of the road.
  • A driver cannot overtake another in traffic when approaching a curve, hill or any other place where the overtaking may create a hazard to other motorists from opposite direction.
  • Whenever possible, slow moving and heavy duty vehicles must stop to allow lighter vehicles either approaching or overtaking to pass before they move.
  • A driver attending to a faulty vehicle in the night must wear a reflective clothing to enhance visibility.
  • A driver is prohibited by law to park his vehicle at bus stops, junction, pedestrian crossing, hump- back bridge where it will obscure a traffic sign.
  • A person driving a motor vehicle cannot park a vehicle abreast (alongside each other and facing in the same direction) another vehicle on the road.
  • An individual driving a motor vehicle cannot park/stop on the road other than a bus stop or any other place designated to stop.
  • A driver shall at all times stop before reaching a school bus
  • You are also expected to stop on meeting a school bus which is either either receiving or discharging school children
  • A vehicle involved in an accident must be pushed to the right side of the road with advance warning devices placed at both front and rear of the vehicle.

If you were not observing these legal provisions, start practicing them to reduce the carnage on our roads and also being an advocate for road safety

The Ban On Communication Devices While Driving

It is sometimes strange to hear that the very people who cry for change do not even realize it when it comes. Over the years, politicians, the clergy, academic, individuals, and many more have furiously compared Ghana to the developed countries doubting the growth and future of this nation. When some believe the destiny of this country lies with the intervention of God, others believe re-colonization may be the remedy. While we continue to make comparisons lets pause for a minute to ponder on why laws don't work in this country.

Barely two years ago most of us heard and saw the introduction of a new law prohibiting the use of communication devices while driving. Almost one and a half years down the line, find out peoples adherence to this regulation and you will be shocked to know that even people within the literate circle are ignorant of this law. Those who are well-informed of this law blatantly abuse it with impunity. How then can the change come if we continue to abuse the laws made for our own safety.

Previously, one could drive and at the same time use mobile phones either with one hand or with the help of an ear piece but the situation is no more. Section 107 of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, L.I. 2180 brings an end to this practice. We must be mindful that the ban is not only on mobile phones as most motorists perceive but the emphasis is on communication devices i.e. any device which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving information.

Anyone who drives a motor vehicle whether on the road or in any public place is prohibited by law to hold, use or operate a mobile phone or any other communication device in one hand or both.

In any case a person may, whilst driving a motor vehicle, use a telephone to either call the police, fire ambulance or other emergency service, if it is dangerous or impossible for the person to stop driving before making that call.

Again, one cannot also carry out any of the following functions whilst driving

-Sending or receiving oral or written messages;
-Sending or receiving facsimile documents;
-Sending or receiving still or moving images; and
-Providing access to the internet
If we are not aware, now we know, let us all ensure strict compliance of this law to ensure road safety always.

By ASP Effia Tenge