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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

More than a third of people say all new UAE residents should be forced to take a driving test 

But almost half agree that the status quo should remain, requiring certain nationalities to go through the process

More than a third of people believe all new UAE residents should be subject to a driving test before getting behind the wheel in the UAE. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
More than a third of people believe all new UAE residents should be subject to a driving test before getting behind the wheel in the UAE. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

More than a third of people believe UAE residents should be forced to take a driving test before taking to the country's roads, a poll has found.

But almost half of those believe the status quo should be maintained - in which only drivers from certain nationalities face a fresh road assessment - according to a poll conducted by The National.

The findings come after a safety campaigner called for the current policy of allowing drivers from select countries to transfer their license without the need for a UAE-specific test to be scrapped.

Speaking at Serco Middle East's annual road safety event in Ghantoot recently, the company's chief executive David Greer said the diversity of attitudes towards driving meant a one-size-fits-all scheme should be changed.

“You see the diversity of people in the UAE and they have very different attitudes and standards when it comes to driving here,” he said.

“The road conditions in some of those countries are far removed from what we have here.”

Currently, license holders from countries such as the US, UK, Japan and Australia, can apply for an international license to drive in the UAE without the need to sit another test.

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Read more:

UAE plans single nationwide driving test, as experts say automatic licences for new residents should stop

Should all new UAE residents have to take a driving test before hitting the nation's roads?

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Learning to drive in the UAE: Are motorists fully prepared?

The seven unwritten rules of the UAE's roads

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Out of the 287 votes cast so far, 38 per cent agree that all new residents should have to take a driving test before hitting the road, while 45 per cent say the rule only should only apply to “certain nationalities,” as it does now.

Just 17 per cent of respondents felt mandatory tests for all drivers should be introduced.

Currently, the vast majority of European driving license holders can swap theirs for a UAE one, as can people holding driving licenses from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United States.

The majority of people disagreed that there should be a standard number of compulsive hourly lessons, with 56 per cent saying the driver should take the test when they are ready.

Almost a third said there should be between 10 and 20 hours of compulsory lessons before a learner is permitted to take their test, while 12 per cent believe there should be more than 20 hours of compulsive training.

The vast majority of those polled agreed with plans to standardise the driving test across all seven emirates. Just 6 per cent disagreed with this move, while 3 per cent of respondents were not sure.

More than a third – 39 per cent – believe their driving has improved since moving to the UAE, while 32 per cent disagreed and 29 per cent said their driving is of a similar standard.