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NTSA: Medical test for drivers now mandatory

By Graham Kajilwa | Jan 9th 2018 | 3 min read
By Graham Kajilwa | January 9th 2018
An eye specialists tests a patient. According to a new curriculum, drivers will be required to undergo eye test (Denish Ochieng)

NAIROBI, KENYA: All new drivers will now be required to take a medical exam before they are issued with licences. They will also have to be tested again after some time.

The medical tests will determine the quality of drivers' eyesight before they can be allowed on the road.

These are among a series of stringent rules and regulations contained in the National Transport and Safety Authority's (NTSA) new curriculum for individuals seeking to be trained as drivers.

The medical test will be repeated for licence holders every 10th year of holding the licence and the drivers will repeat the training, sit for an exam and obtain a competence certificate before being issued with a new licence.

At the same time, before being issued with a provisional licence for admittance in a driving school, all motorists - motorcycles, tricycles, public service vehicles, heavy vehicles, trucks, and light-weight vehicles - should submit a medical report on their health.

The report should not be more than six months old.

Those who are aged 60 years and above must submit a medical report annually to facilitate renewal of their licences, a provision that the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) has heavily criticised.

Main causes

"Age is not among the main causes of road traffic accidents. There are many drivers who are over 50 years with clean records and only a few, maybe, with bad ones," said NDMU Deputy Director Pius Masai.

Mr Masai added that the transport authority should address the main causes of accidents, which have been linked to human error, dangerous and reckless driving, and speeding.

In the curriculum released on January 3, NTSA seems to be out to ensure that no aspect of the transport sector is left unattended.

Those who choose to be amateur drivers before they are absorbed into driving schools will not be admitted if it is found that they have been involved in an accident in the previous 24 months.

According to NTSA Director General Francis Meja, the document will "set standards among drivers and instill professionalism in the industry".

The curriculum has roped in not just learners, but instructors and driving schools with strict conditions that should be met before one is issued with a driving licence.

Under the curriculum, a learner shall only be deemed to have fulfilled the training requirements if they have attended at least 75 per cent of the classes. Schools shall keep updated attendance register.

However, in practical training, one must attend 100 per cent of the classes to be deemed to have completed the course.

“Theory training may be provided online, provided an online attendance and assessment register is maintained,” reads the document in part.

Only learners who have attained a minimum aggregate score of 70 per cent in the school's final test shall be presented for examination. If you fail, you must go back to class where re-testing should be done within 21 days.

“That a learner who fails in theory examination shall be required to re-take the entire examination while one who fails a practical exam shall be required to re-sit the practical within a period not exceeding six months,” the new curriculum directs.

“A candidate who fails to take the re-test shall be required to register afresh and re-do the course.”

Training for a moped or any mini-motorcycle below the engine capacity of 50cc, with no passengers, requires one to be at least 16 years old. Anything above 50cc to 400cc with load capacity not exceeding 60kg means one must be 18.

For the higher type of motorcycle categorised as A3 - often used as couriers and include three wheelers - the minimum age is 21 and one needs at least one year's experience.

For the first time, truck drivers will be trained through a mainstream process. At the moment, there are no specific schools that teach truckers; they mostly learn through apprenticeship.

To drive a 14-seater matatu, one must be at least 22 years old. If you want to upgrade, then you be tested in both theory and practicals, and pass.

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