x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

RTA unifies driving lesson curriculum

New licensing format for Dubai drivers will include mandatory time behind the wheel at night and on motorways.

DUBAI // Learner drivers will take driving lessons according to a new uniform format that will include mandatory time behind the wheel at night and on motorways.

The licensing agency at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) implemented the programme at the start of the month and all driving schools will use the same curriculum.

“It’s the first uniform curriculum,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, the chief executive of the licensing agency. “In the current situation, each driving school has its own curriculum. They all cover the major skills but we put more structure around it by unifying them.”

The new curriculum is split between theory and practical. It is now mandatory for students to cover all aspects before they sit the final driving exam, and classroom lessons are also required.

“The majority of accidents are not caused by not knowing how to drive but they are caused by the attitude of the driver,” Mr Bahrozyan said. The classroom lessons will help address drivers’ attitudes.

“They comprise key road basics and contribute to exposing trainees to an all-inclusive qualification before obtaining the driver’s licence. The new feature added to the practical training caters to educating learners on sudden braking in emergency cases,” Mr Bahrozyan said.

Other practical lessons comprise five basic stages which a trainee must pass. “The unified curriculum has two components. The theoretical component, which comprises eight basic lectures which are mandatory for trainees to attend as they cover safety standards,” Mr Bahrozyan said.

The cost of the mandatory 40 lessons will remain the same, from Dh2,000. The RTA’s Dh210 fee for a road test will also remain unchanged.

Robert Hodges, the chief operating officer at Emirates Driving Institute said the new process makes everybody equal.

“Creating this unified curriculum  was a very good move,” he said. “A simple and easy-to-execute curriculum for schools to follow and students know what to expect.”

The new programme gives students much-needed feedback, which was not common practice in some schools, he said.

“They know what they have accomplished.”

Material will also be available so trainees know what is in the next lesson and can see how well they progress.

eharnan@thenational.ae