Press - February 2019

Driving Test Amendments South Africa

Proposed amendments to the Driving Test in South Africa

To anybody that has spent a moment behind the wheel of a vehicle in South Africa, it is alarmingly clear that there are a number of drivers on our roads who really shouldn’t be…

While that in itself is an article for another day, it is rather clear that the methods by which drivers are tested in South Africa are very out of date. The much-maligned K53 driving test is very similar to the system used in Britain in the 1980’s, so it goes without saying that our system needs an extensive revamp.

The Proposed Changes

The Road Traffic Management Corporation believes that it can make a difference to the increasing road-deaths on South African roads, with road accidents this festive season claiming over 1 600 lives, nearly 100 up from the previous festive season.

  • Upon renewing a license every 5 years, drivers will have to retake their driving test.
  • Road trips of more than 150 km will not be permitted for newly licensed drivers.
  • For the first 6 months, it will be mandatory for newly-licensed drivers to be accompanied by an experienced driver.
  • Truck, bus and taxi drivers will need to undergo additional testing.
  • In order to apply for a heavy-truck license, a driver must also possess a car license.

The Issues

On paper, much of this seems like a good idea, but the efficiency of the licensing department as it stands is, well, questionable. Factor in all of the additional tests that will need to be done once the 5-year retest is implemented and you have a recipe for disaster…

It is also a common occurrence for learner drivers, for whom it is mandatory to have a licensed driver in the car already, to drive around on their lonesome. If the police force struggles to enforce this as it is, it’s unlikely that they will be able to enforce laws such as not driving further than 150 km and having a licensed driver in the car with you for the first six months…

There’s no doubt that our road rules and regulations are in serious need of a revamp, what is finalized and how it is implemented will be tantamount to actually decreasing road deaths.