Freeman Cebu Business

Are we there yet? Brick in the wall

Back Seat Driver - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- Never has there been a time when I was travelling from one place to another that I didn’t get to follow a motor vehicle with a “Caution: New Driver” signage strategically placed to warn the trailing driver that he’s in for a horrible time tailing this newbie.  And ninety percent of the time, this signage is placed at a spot which obstructs the ‘new driver’s’ full vision if they decide to glance at their rearview mirror.  It made me to wonder, what kind of genius would advise a newbie driver to make life more difficult for them by obstructing their vision and increasing their risk of getting into a traffic collision.  So I set off to find out.

Apparently, some driving instructors advise their “graduates” to place a ‘new driver’ signage on their motor vehicles as a, sort of, immunity token.  These instructors mistakenly believe that by having a ‘new driver’ signage, these new drivers could be forgiven for any infraction they could commit.  I know that this isn’t the perfect analogy but, telling a very raw driver that they are already fit to handle the streets of the metropolis is like telling a barely passing nuclear physicist student that he’s fully equipped to assemble a nuclear warhead in the middle of the city.  Driving instructors should churn out graduates that are ready to take the streets just like a veteran driver.  But why are most newbies ill-equipped to handle real world road conditions?  Answer, because their driving instructors are equally ill-equipped.

Have you seen the requirements the land transport office has put together in order to determine if an individual is qualified to be a driving instructor?  First, there’s your standard educational background.  To qualify, one must have at least finished high school.  It doesn’t require a specific grade point average.  Just that you’ve, at least, managed to coast through it.  Second, there’s the minimum number of years a person has been a professional driver’s license holder.  One must have been issued a pro driver’s license for at least five years and must not have been involved in any traffic infraction.  Fair enough, but that does not mean the candidate has not developed any bad habits over the course of time he’s been issued a driver’s license.

Lastly, there’s the requirement where a candidate instructor must simply pass the standard licensing exam.  Again, no minimum grade requirement.  A prospect instructor must not necessarily know all the proper rules and regulations in order to teach a totally green driver how to drive.  So, whatever bad habits or rules he wrongly believes to be correct, this prospect instructor will cascade that knowledge to the newbies who are eager to rub elbows with the rest of the licensed drivers.

In order to improve the quality of licensed drivers, someone should revamp these requirements.  Just like every other educational institution, prospect driving instructors should be required to have a driving accreditation from the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile.  This is equivalent to a doctorate that university professors are required to have in order to teach.  This should really screen which teachers are really qualified, and greatly improve the quality of drivers in the streets.

But wishing for that to happen would be like hoping that the qualification to be a candidate for the country’s presidency would be more than just being able to read and write at the age of forty.  In the immortal words of the great confused one, “Good luck to that!”

[email protected]













  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with