Dubai: New drivers in Dubai will only be licensed to drive for one year, Gulf News has learnt. And licences will only be renewed as long as new drivers keep clean driving records.
"A driving licence will be issued with one-year validity and will be renewed twice for one year each time before a driver is given a 10-year validity licence," said Engineer Ali Mohammad Al Jasem, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Licensing Agency at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Al Jasem said that renewal of a driving licence issued for one year will be conditional on a new driver's performance on the road.
"A new driver will have to sit for a driving test again or be sent to driving school for more training in case of serious traffic offences, such as jumping red signals, causing serious accidents or accumulating black points as result of other violations," he added.
However, he did not explain the severity of the offences that can prevent licences from being renewed. Currently, the RTA issues a driving licence for 10 years. All other emirates follow the same rule.
Al Jasem made it clear that the new rule does not apply to drivers who already hold foreign licences that can be exchanged with the UAE licences over the counter. Those who already have licences will not be affected.
Getting a driving licence in Dubai has become a daunting task as it sometimes takes more than a year to get one, due to a heavy rush of applicants. About 1,000 applicants are tested every working day for new licences.
Al Jasem said the new rule has been approved by the higher authorities in Dubai and will be in place as soon as the RTA gets approval from the federal government.
"The aim is to monitor drivers, reduce road accidents and improve the driving culture, especially rash and careless driving among new and young ones, posing dangers to road users," Al Jasem said.
The new rules are part of the RTA's strategy to improve the licensing system in the emirate.
"We are also introducing driving manuals for learner drivers, trainers and examiners by the end of this year or early next year," Al Jasem said.
Five tests: Complain if you fail
A learner driver can file a complaint with the RTA's Licensing Agency if he fails in the driving tests for at least five times, said Engineer Ali Mohammad Al Jassim, Acting CEO of the Agency.
He said there was a committee of examiners for every driving school and those who are not satisfied with examiners' decision can complain against them but they can do so only after they fail at least five times.
They can call the RTA's toll free number 8009090 or file online complaint on the RTA's website www.rta.ae or can directly go to a RTA supervisor in their respective driving school to file a complaint.
Once the candidate filed the complaint, he or she will be tested by two examiners including a senior examiner. On an average, about 26,000 new drivers are tested every month.