Dubai driving classes to become longer in 2017: RTA
20 hours are not enough to learn driving, say Dubai residents.
Starting January next year, driving licence applicants will have a minimum of one hour driving lesson per day, up from the current 30 minutes on the road, at no additional cost on the part of the learner, the CEO of Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Licensing Agency said.
"Thirty minutes on the road is not enough so we will make it more reasonable and practical for the learner and the driving centre," Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA's Licensing Agency, told Khaleej Times on Thursday. "The lesson will become one hour but we will not change the number of hours required and we are not adding any cost to the learner -- this is more of an organisational set up."
"The minimum is still 20 hours of road driving and after completing this, the driving school will make an assessment whether or not a student is ready for the road test to be conducted by the RTA, Bahrozyan added.
He further explained: "Applicants have different levels of learning. Not everybody learn quickly and some people need more hours to be good at driving."
At present, a novice learner who does not have a driving licence from any country has to take 40 classes of 30 minutes each class at a driving school while those possessing their country's licence which is 2-5 years old have to take 15 classes and those with a licence which is more than 5 years old have to take only 10 classes.
"Effective January 1, 2017, all the lessons will be on an hourly basis and not half an hour," explained Arif Al Malik, RTA Director Driving Qualifications and Training, in a separate interview.
In addition, the RTA has announced that for every two hours of practical training, there must be at least one hour of interval. After that students may resume their training for another two hours. "A student cannot train for more than four hours per day," said Malik.
Meanwhile, the public and a group advocating road safety welcomed the idea of extending driving lesson to one hour per day.
"Authorities are constantly looking to safeguard drivers. In this context, the extension of the driving class duration is a welcome initiative," said Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of Road Safety UAE.
Dubai residents Jerry Martinez and Yuri Cipriano added: "Learning to drive requires time. It is a good move on the part of the RTA to give learners more time to be on the road."
Authorised Driving Schools
Al Ahli Driving School: 04-3411500 (10 branches)
Belhasa Driving School: 04-3243535 (18 branches)
Dubai Driving Center: 04-3455855 (13 branches)
Emirates Driving Institute: 04-2631100 (53 branches/mall counters)
Galadari Driving School: 04-2676166 (14 branches)
Keep calm and drive
Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA's Licensing Agency, said: "Some drivers fail because they are very nervous while taking the road test."
"It's like going to an exam, even if you have prepared enough but you are too nervous, you might fail the exam because you are scared. Psychologically you are not ready."
"That's why examiners try to calm down the students before they go for a test. But the fear of failure is something that is affecting a lot of people - sometimes they make basic mistakes."
But does it mean they don't know how to drive? No, they can drive but when they go for the test, they just find it very difficult to control their emotions."
What does the public say
The minimum 20 hours driving lesson is actually inadequate for a beginner as the laws and rules are strict here and people, especially expats, need more time to adjust to them. I feel more hours are needed since driving on UAE roads is difficult.
We witness so many accidents and rash driving these days so I think for beginners a minimum of 20 hours is absolutely necessary, whether it is inadequate or not really depends on the learner. Some people are a natural at driving and pick it up very easily. Personally I think those who do have a licence should also be required to take re-assessment every few years.
In my experience, 20 hours are not enough to learn driving as many factors need to be considered like road route familiarisation.
Driving is a new skill that requires enough time to acquire. Aside from the official 20-hour training at a driving school, applicants should also practice driving.
A new driver needs more than 20 hours to learn defensive driving but if he/she is already driving and already has a license, 10 hours of road familiarisation and review are enough.
I would rather suggest 50 hours of road driving for novice drivers. One has to assume that they have zero knowledge of driving and more time to practice will make them better drivers.
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