Planning to get a driver's license soon or have your existing one renewed? Be prepared to attend several seminars and classes in the near future.
Recently, the LTO released Memorandum Circular No. 2019 – 2176 wherein it details the required driving instruction seminar hours for each kind of license. With it, new student permit, license applicants, and license renewal applicants must provide proof that they have completed the required number of hours before being allowed to apply or renew their license / permit.
For those seeking for a new student permit, an applicant has to have attended a minumum of 15 hours of theoretical driving clasroom seminars from LTO accredited driving schools, or from the LTO itself. Meanwhile, new driver's license applicants must have a minimum of 8 hours of hands-on driving lessons from an LTO-accredited driving insructor from an LTO-certified driving school. Alternatively, they can also meet those requirements from the LTO itself.
Also part of the curriculum are the written and practical exams which applicants must be able to complete.
As for the requirements needed in renewing a license, it will depend on how many demerits a license holder has accumulated. First renewals with a 5-year license validity (with no demerits) will need to have 8 hours of theoretical driving seminars. For drivers renewing their license after the first renewal will need a minimum of 4 hours theoretical driving classroom seminars should they have 5 – 9 demerit points. Users that have 10 or more demerits shall need a minimum of 8 hours theoretical driving clasroom seminars.
But for those who incur 10 demerit points every time they were caught violating, an additional 4 hours of intervention program seminars are required for the driver to attend. Also, if an individual has committed a violation at least three times, they will need to attend an intervention program despite having less than 10 demerits on their license. Should a license holder get 20 demerit points, they are required to attend 8 hours of theoretical driving school seminars, and 8 hours of intervention programs.
Aside from being tough on new and current license holders, M.C. No. 2019 – 2176 also requires the LTO to be stringent with driving schools as well. With it, driving school instructors must be free from violations for the past 12 months, must have certification for being a driving instructor, passed drug and psychological tests, and passed the accreditation system.
Meanwhile, the driving schools themselves must have a driving area that measures 14x14 meters, a classroom with 1.5 meters of space for each student, at least 2 light-wheeled vehicles that can either have a manual or automatic transmission, and at least 2 motorcycles. All of the motorized vehicles must not be more than 7-years old and have appropriate markings showing
Do note that the new Memorandum Circular has yet to be implemented. The LTO will officially announce when the new requirements will be required. The LTO is hopeful that should these new requirements and the new process comes into effect, they will mitigate road accidents, and improve driver discipline in the long run.