Last week, we reported that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) was planning to make seminars and classes a requirement for new applicants and renewals. With it, those that wish to apply for a student permit or a driver's license will have to clock in several hours of theoretical driving seminars, depending on the status of their license / permit.

But what can we exactly expect to learn from the seminars or classes the LTO plans to become a requirement soon? According to Memorandum Circular 2019 – 2176, there will be two phases of the course of instruction.

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The first one is called Classroom / Theoretical Instruction wherein it will cover a variety of topics / fields of study. These include the background and evolution of land transportation and its role in development; driver's license and motor vehicle registration requirements and processes; traffic rules and regulations including traffic signs; land transporation related special laws; pavement markings and right of way; hazard scanning and recognition with road crash risk reduction; cockpit drill and driving maneuvers; parking techniq ues such as three-point-turn, parallel, reverse and angle parking; fuel conservation tips; vehicle safety checks and basic trouble shooting; road courtesy, road discipline and practice of defensive driving; and detailed topics / concepts of safe operation of motorcycle and motor vehicles.

Aside from teaching student-drivers and driver-renewals these topics, LTO-certified driving schools must also provide each one with the Filipino Driver's Manual. As a reminder, the time for theoretical instructions shall not be less than 15 hours.

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The second phase is called Practical Driving Instruction. From its namesake, student-drivers will have to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and proper manner in order to pass the test. A total of 11 lessons will be covered by this phase and includes: start and stop; backing and turning; road crossing and light traffic; maneuvering; garage driving; parking; highway driving; heavy traffic; night driving; and final review. Student-drivers that will partake Practical Driving Instructions are reminded that the session shall not be less than eight hours in total.

But how much will the requiered seminars or classes cost once they are implementd by the LTO? According to LTO Executive Director Romeo G. Vera, they are still finalizing the Memorandum Circular, including the fees. However, they expect to issue the new M.C. this month. Vera also wished to state that due to budget constraints, they are inviting driving schools to provide this service. However, the LTO itself will also be having this facility for those who cannot afford the fees of the driving schools.

With the LTO adamant in making the process more stringent, they're hoping that this new system will make drivers more disciplined on the road, as well as make them better drivers in the long run.