Call made to introduce automatic car driving tests

October 8, 2012

A Bahraini lawmaker has called for a change to allow learners to take driving tests in automatic cars.

“Learners should be given the option to test in an automatic or manual car,” MP Mahmoud Al Mahmoud said. “The number of manual cars in Bahrain has been steadily dwindling and it does not exceed 10 per cent of all vehicles on the roads,” he said.

Under Bahrain’s traffic rules, all trainees have to take their driving lessons and tests in manual gear cars.

However, most of those who pass the test drive automatic cars.

Countries that allow the automatic test option usually mention on the driving licence that it is valid for automatic cars.

“We also urge the traffic officials to find a prompt solution to the acute shortage of driving instructors,” Al Mahmood said. “Many families and people are now really worried about this situation as trainees have to wait up to six months to have the chance to sit behind a steering wheel.”

The lawmaker said that the current number of instructors was insufficient to meet increasing demands.

“I am puzzled by the situation and I truly wonder about the reasons for not allowing more people to join the profession, especially that it can accommodate many more instructors,” he said.

Allowing more driving instructors will also help address the issue of unemployment, the lawmaker said.

“The authorities can also benefit from the vast experience of retirees between the ages of 50 and 60 for instance. They can undergo a physical and medical test and then allowed to draw on their long experiences to help trainees,” he said.

Al Mahmoud’s call is the latest in a series of moves to help address the situation.

“I have a friend who is taking lessons very early in the morning so that she could fit in the instructor’s busy schedule,” Narmeen, an office secretary, said. “She had to accept the odd timing of five in the morning after all her attempts over three months failed to secure an instructor. Without the driving licence, she cannot move much and she cannot of course spend much money on expensive taxis,” she said.

According to official figures, Bahrain, a country with a total population of 1.1 million people, has 478,184 registered vehicles.

The number moved up after 23,325 new cars were given the green light in 2011, according to the traffic directorate figures.

Foreigners, mainly from Asian countries, make up slightly more than half of the total population. However, there are no nationality- or income-based restrictions on acquiring local driving licences.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

Random Image

17 visitors online now
1 guests, 16 bots, 0 members
Max visitors today: 28 at 09:21 am UTC
This month: 45 at 08-06-2017 06:47 am UTC
This year: 48 at 05-21-2017 10:47 am UTC
All time: 137 at 07-08-2013 12:50 pm UTC
Better Tag Cloud