Mobility minister plans end to three-year delay for driving test

Summary

Ben Weyts, Flanders’ mobility minister, plans a series of reforms for the driver training sector, including the “absurd” three-year wait for those who fail their practical exam

Driver training reforms

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts said he plans to change the law on driving licences, which imposes a lengthy waiting period on those who fail their practical test.

At present, on passing the written exam, learners are given a provisional driving licence (sample pictured) and have 36 months to pass the practical driving test. If they fail, they have to wait three years before being allowed to take the written exam again.

Questioned in the Flemish parliament on the “absurd rule” by member Lorin Parys, Weyts agreed that the wait was too long. He promised to review it as part of a broader reform of driver training, which became a regional responsibility this year.

According to Parys, the rule, which was introduced by the last federal government last year, is particularly hard on those who obtained their provisional licence prior to that time. “If you’re 20, and you get your provisional licence but decide to put off the test until after your studies, then you would have to wait until you’re 26 before you can take another theory exam,” he said. “That’s an obstacle for young graduates to start working.”

There is one exception to the three-year rule – take a minimum six hours of lessons with an approved driving school. “But then you can’t go on the road to practise without the driving school because you no longer have a provisional licence,” Parys explained. “That’s why young learners don’t have enough experience when they take the practical test  and go on the road. That’s unsafe.”

Among the other changes Weyts plans are improvements in the training of instructors. One in 10 driving schools is not up to standards, according to the sector federation Federdrive, but there is little inspectors can do in the way of sanctions.
Image courtesy mobility ministry