Conflict over reform to driver education
19 June 2006, BRUSSELS — Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt has dismissed criticism from the Flemish motorists association VAB about planned changes to the driver education system.
19 June 2006
BRUSSELS — Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt has dismissed criticism from the Flemish motorists association VAB about planned changes to the driver education system.
The VAB claims driver education courses will increase in price from 1 September, but the quality of the training will decline.
It said a combined course involving six hours of official training and 'free guidance' is the best model, but the government has refused to classify the scheme as a fully-fledged model.
From September, learner drivers will be offered a choice of two models: 100 percent free guidance by family members or friends or 100 percent driving school education (20 hours of lessons).
But the VAB claims the restricted choice makes driving lessons more expensive and represents a decline in quality. It said a full driver education course will cost EUR 1,000.
A warning on quality was also issued: the only other choice of undergoing driving lessons provided by family members for a period of three months is the least safest method, the VAB said.
Landuyt is in favour of the 'mixed model' but fought a lone battle within the federal Cabinet. Driving schools will not be obligated from September to offer a six-hour package.
However, Landuyt wants to impose the obligation via a backdoor. Driving schools that want to apply for a permit or renew a permit will be obligated to offer a six-hour package.
In reality, the VAB claimed that driving schools will not be obligated to offer learner drivers a six-hour lesson package until mid-2007
The VAB said the government has made a blunder and is urging for the reforms to be introduced in combination with a mixed driver education course and an extension to the learner period.
Additionally, the VAB wants tighter conditions to be placed on family members or friends who teach youth to drive, urging for a registration system. Landuyt dismissed the proposal as an "unnecessary complication".
Landuyt also denied the VAB claims that only two choices will remain for learner drivers when the reforms are implemented. He said various training methods can be offered.
He also said it is still possible to make it compulsory from September for existing driving schools to offer the mixed training course (six hours and free guidance).
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news