STARTING in April 2020, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will require all applicants for a student permit to undergo 15 hours of a theoretical driving course. The permit is a requirement for the issuance of a driver’s license.
The driving course is akin to a seminar that the applicant will have to undergo to learn about traffic laws and driving in general, among others.
This new requirement is embodied in Memorandum Circular 2019-2176 that the agency issued.
According to LTO in Central Visayas Director Victor Caindec, centers that will offer driving courses will have to be accredited.
“So far, 21 schools have been accredited. Same concept with medical clinics. Electronic certificates are transmitted to LTO from the accredited schools. We are also in discussions with LGUs (local government units) for public driving schools which LTO will accredit,” Caindec said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The official said President Rodrigo Duterte wants “intelligent drivers” on the road to avoid accidents.
Based on the memorandum, individuals who complete the 15-hour theoretical driving course will receive certificates of driving course completion, which will be automatically transmitted to the LTO by driving course centers.
The 15-hour theoretical driving course will be divided into three sessions, which will include Introduction to Driving and Traffic Rules and the Land Transportation Related Special Laws where 13 traffic laws will be discussed.
Each session will be five hours.
The LTO did not regulate the cost of the course, but the driving course centers that applied for accreditation had to pay P5,000 for a 90-day provincial permit before these can be issued the two-year permit from the LTO assistant secretary.
Permit renewal will cost P3,000.
Driving school instructors had to pay a P1,000 accreditation fee that will be valid for two years. Instructors must also score 85 percent or above on the theoretical exam.
Under the new setup, student permit applicants will have to pay more aside from the P317.63 LTO fee since they will also have to pay for the online medical test, a drug test and now the theoretical driving course.
In 2019, the LTO 7 reported more than 40,000 drivers who violated traffic rules, more than double the 18,000 violators in 2018. / HBL / PJB