Africa-Press – Rwanda. The use of cars with automatic transmissions during driving tests, to acquire a driver’s license, has been provided for in the draft law governing road traffic.
The development was revealed by Alfred Byiringiro, the Chief Technical Advisor in charge of Transport at The Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA).
The law on conducting driving license tests is still under stakeholder consultations and is expected to be amended by the end of fiscal year 2022/23.
In an interview with The New Times, Byiringiro pointed out that learning from other countries’ practices, it was discovered that a driving license obtained with automatic vehicles differs from the one obtained when manual transmission vehicles are used.
Thus the need to have the law providing for such driving licenses enacted before a vehicle with automatic transmission can be used.
Byiringiro previously told The New Times that there will be two kinds of driving permits; one that will be given to someone who did the test using a car with manual mode and the other one to the person who used a car with automatic transmission.
He indicated that there are fast track stakeholders’ consultations for the draft law to be submitted to other processes for final consideration and approval.
Also, the government had a plan to open the automated driving test centre in Kicukiro district by June last year. Byiringiro disclosed that civil works for the centre were completed and the department for testing and licensing was shifted there from June 6 this year.
However, he didn’t specify the exact time for the opening, though he revealed that some training is being provided for the centre’s operations.
The amendment of the law will follow various petitions in past years requesting lawmakers to amend the laws that govern driving licenses, to be able to allow the use of automated cars.
For instance, a petition by a private citizen to parliament in April 2018, sought to amend the law on the acquisition of driving licenses to allow for the use of automatic cars.
The petitioner, Frank Shumbusho, among others argued that “there are many people who own automatic cars and know how to drive them but are unable to do so because sitting for a driving exam requires one to know a manual car.”
The current law only recognises manual cars while conducting driving tests and any change to that effect would require changing the law.
The current adjustments appear to be following technological trends in the automobile industry, with some car manufacturers completely ditching production of the manual cars.