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Times of Oman - 03.06.2014


It is simply not acceptable for instructors to be on the phone, asleep or doing anything else in that vehicle while there is a student next to them. All driving instructor vehicles must be fully road compliant, and have dual controls that allow the instructor to take immediate action if the student puts them or other road users at imminent risk

Special to Times of Oman

One of the most fundamental requirements of any effective training or development programme is the knowledge, ability and understanding of the instructor. As a career instructor and training manager, I am always asked by our clients to provide the credentials of the Instructor prior to the commencement of any training programme, for scrutiny. 

The rationale behind this request is very simple. Our clients need to assure themselves that the instructor is not only experienced in the delivery of that programme but also has the back ground knowledge, appropriate qualifications and most importantly, the approval from a recognised entity or accrediting body to deliver that programme to the required standards.

This should certainly be the requirement for any training programme that is based upon safety which includes driver training. 

It must be the responsibility of the authority having jurisdiction to ensure that driving instructor standards are clearly defined, appropriate, implemented and adhered to. 

Only then can the standard of driving be improved and effectively reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries on our roads.

A system that utilises a robust methodology to train and assess new drivers will not only improve the ability of young drivers to drive but also enhance their sense of responsibility generally.  There is also a real sense of achievement when a person steps out of the car following a successful driving test having worked and studied hard to gain their independence instead of it being handed to them on a plate.  

Many countries have now adopted a two stage system which requires all new drivers to sit and pass a theory examination before they are permitted to take the practical driving test. 

Only then can a pass certificate be issued which is then submitted to the authority having jurisdiction in exchange for a drivers licence. 

All the training material for the theory examination is provided by that countries driving standards agency and is in many cases, available online in the form of worksheets and sample tests. 

This allows the provisional driver to study in their own time in preparation for their test and gives a valuable opportunity to fully understand the rules of the road without having to concentrate on steering or avoiding other road users.

Driving instructors must be regulated, of that there is no doubt. 

They must be tested and examined and demonstrate that they meet all the requirements under the law before they are allowed to take a student on the road.  It is simply not acceptable for instructors to be on the phone, asleep or doing anything else in that vehicle while there is a student next to them. 

All driving instructor vehicles must be fully road compliant, and have dual controls that allow the instructor to take immediate action if the student puts them or other road users at imminent risk. 

They must be assessed regularly and re-certified to ensure that they are safe and are up to date with any legislative changes. 

Penalties and even the withdrawal of certification must be imposed on those afforded the responsibility of teaching our young people to drive if they fail to meet the requirements or flaunt their duty of care to their students. 

Sanctions of this nature could seriously affect the livelihoods of instructors and are therefore an appropriate deterrent for unacceptable practices.

Newly qualified drivers are one of the biggest hazards on our roads; their new found freedom and the car that proud parents have provided are a dangerous combination, especially if they are fortunate enough to be able to afford high powered vehicles. 

The thrill of speed is enticing to most people but for new young drivers, it is addictive. 

The inclusion of showing young drivers videos of road traffic collisions and their shocking consequences may go some way towards curbing their enthusiasm for this dangerous pursuit, as would higher insurance premiums. 

The inclusion of driver age, experience and vehicle performance ability in the criteria for underwriting new car insurance policies may also reduce the number of deaths and injuries. 

Statistics clearly show that new drivers are ten times more likely to be involved in a serious accident which results in death or serious injury in their first twelve months than any other group. 

If we can educate our young people from grass root level upwards, using highly qualified and regulated instructors, adequately equipped training vehicles and stringent assessment methods then we stand a good chance of improving the standard of driving. 

For many of us, it is too late, old (bad) habits die hard, and so why not let the younger generation show us how it should be done!

The author is the Head of Training at Competence HR. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.
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