Two men push a driving school vehicle after it stalled along Kenyatta street in Nyeri town on November 21, 2019. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG
Students who fail driving tests will be allowed to re-take after seven days if MPs approve fresh road safety regulations.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has backed proposals by the Automobile Association of Kenya (AA Kenya) to amend the re-testing period.
The law currently allows a person who fails a driving test to re-take after 21 days.
“The Authority concurs with AA Kenya’s proposal to review the re-testing period from 21 days to seven days for students who have taken the test and failed,” the NTSA said in submissions to Parliament.
In Kenya, a driving course lasts an average of one month. One has to master traffic signs and rules which comprise theory and pass practicals to get a licence.
Part of the NTSA effort in restoring sanity on the roads was a review of the driving school curriculum, which now includes several modules and is designed to address the different needs depending on the vehicle.
The National Assembly’s committee on Delegated Legislation is scrutinising the Traffic (Driving Schools, Driving Instructors and Driving Licences) Rules, 2020.
The High Court had suspended the implementation of the 2020 rules after the Driving School Association challenged them, citing lack of public participation.
The court action followed a decision by Parliament to transfer powers of police to conduct driver tests to the NTSA.
The rules were meant to operationalise sections of Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill, 2018 that amended the Traffic Act to transfer power to test drivers to the NTSA.
The changes offered legal backing to the NTSA after it faced legal suits from driving schools opposing its earlier attempts to shut down driver examination facilities under the Kenya Police.
The schools argued the NTSA was relying on a law that was not subjected to public scrutiny, a position that has been cured by the change to the Traffic Act.
“There is no lacuna as propagated by the Driving School Association. Further as a point of law, in the event the court had quashed the rules, which it did not, this would not mean that the 1971 rules are revived.
“As has been stated, the Traffic Act which is superior to any subsidiary rules, including the 2020 rules, places the responsibility of driver testing on the Authority, thus any amendment of the 2020 rules to a position contrary to this will be null and void,” the Authority said in a presentation to the House team.
The NTSA in 2017 shut down driver examination facilities run by the police and transferred the role to the authority, sparking a war with the driving schools.
The driving schools in their petition to the High Court cited lack of consultation, arguing the NTSA’s Likoni Road facility was too small to handle the tests and that it does not have adequate driving sites.
The NTSA has moved to curb escalating road carnage after a survey established that more than 90 percent of accidents are due to human error.
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