In 2016, more than 1 260 000 learner driving licences were issued in South Africa. Amongst these figures published by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), it is becoming more common for new motorists to learn to pass a driving test, rather than to learn to drive competently, the Automobile Association (AA) says.
Last year, 46 183 learner licences were issued for motorcycles, 273 449 for light motor vehicles, and 942 629 for heavy motor vehicles. As these figures are taken into consideration, the AA urges parents, guardians and businesses with learner drivers to ensure that these new motorists are not only trained to pass driving tests, but are qualified behind the wheel.
In other words, these drivers are certified but not necessarily qualified and pose a great risk to other motorists. In 2016, more than 14 000 people died on South African roads; the highest annual road death toll since 2007. If South Africa is to reduce its staggering annual road death toll, then motorists need to adopt a different approach, the AA mentions.
The Association notes that the most important aspect of teaching new drivers is to lead by example. It becomes critical for experienced drivers set a good example by adhering to the rules of the road. It is their responsibility to add safe, proficient drivers to the national driving population.
Likewise, using a driving school to teach learner drivers is a good option. The selection of the driving school should however be carefully considered.
Take the following into consideration when looking for driving schools in your area:
Check if the driving school is accredited with the South African Institute of Driving Instructors (SAIDI)
Ask for referrals from friends who have recently had children go through driving training
Speak to their children’s school for referrals
Visit the driving school in person, and observe the training process
Ask to see the credentials of the people involved in the driving training
Speak to the people who are currently being trained for their opinion on the quality of the teaching
Assess at least two or three driving schools before settling on one
Appraise the progress of the new driver after the first few lessons
Success rate enquiries may be an inaccurate method to explore. Observe the driving school’s methods for yourself instead. The goal is to create qualified rather than certified drivers. It is always best to consider the competence of the instructor, and not necessarily the cheapest available option, the AA concludes.
Issued by Automobile Association of South Africa