Lawmakers push for automatic car driving tests

October 19, 2012

Bahrain’s lawmakers are pushing for the adoption of driving tests in automatic transmission cars.

A motion filed by lawmakers to allow learners to be tested in non-manual gear cars has been endorsed by a parliamentary committee and will be debated by the parliament at a session soon.

“We should do away with the rule that tests should be in manual cars,” the motion said. “Most of the people, specifically women, will drive only automatic cars, so why should the traffic authorities insist on the manual learning and testing? There is no need for it.”

The interior ministry has insisted on learning and testing in cars with clutch pedals and manual transmission.

“Our aim is to enhance the capabilities of the learners and future drivers to the highest levels,” the ministry said. “The manual gear driving can ensure high standards because it becomes easy for someone with practice in using manual cars to drive automatic vehicles. Learning in an automatic gear car does not enable drivers to drive manual vehicles and to gain enough experience.”

The ministry said that many countries insist on the manual learning to boost driving skills through successful synchronisation between the clutch and the gear.

However, lawmakers said that the interior ministry could introduce a new concept that combines the two transmission gears by allowing learners to drive a car with manual transmission for 10 hours before they switch to automatic gears for the remaining hours.

“This concept is implemented in several countries, including in the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC],” they said. “We suggest also that the learners bring the cars in which they want to be tested as is the case of some countries,” they said.

A driving licence is a significant milestone in the lives of most young people in Bahrain and the other GCC countries.

However, Bahrainis have complained that they often missed driving instruction opportunities due to an acute shortage of instructors and called upon the lawmakers and the traffic authorities to find lasting solutions.

Some young people said that they were ready to take lessons as early as 5am to ensure that they can take the test and obtain the licence.



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

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