“It does not allow you to cope with all driving conditions”
Originally in 2018, this apprenticeship course was intended for job seekers who had to get their driving license in a hurry to get a job. This direct access seems to have attracted a much wider audience, according to the latest survey by the Vias Institute in collaboration with Sudinfo. It appears that 11% of Walloons aged 18 to 30 have opted for this 30-hour course in driving school followed immediately by the practical test. This rate rises to 15% in the Brussels Region. The Vias Institute is opposed to such a generalization of this direct access.
“Of these thirty hours, six are reserved for learning maneuvers. The candidate is actually only on the road for 24 hours”, points out the spokesperson for the Vias Institute, Benoît Godart. Therefore, the road safety specialist expresses doubts “as to the ability of a driver to understand all the dangers of traffic”, especially since the hours worked with the instructor are during the day during the week “which cannot cope with all driving conditions”. Concretely, a young person who obtained his license this summer in this way risks having difficulties with current traffic conditions: rain, slippery roads, low light, night driving, etc.
Refused in Flanders
“We can understand the approach at the base of a sector intended for job seekers, but it is now used by people who have the financial means to pay 30 hours”, notes Benoît Godart. Parents favor it so as not to have to get involved in training. One can also wonder what practical knowledge remains in a young person who no longer really drives after obtaining his license in this way. Whether in the free sector or in a 20-hour driving school, the learner must complete an internship of at least three months and travel at least 1,500 km before being able to take the exam. This proves the importance of accumulating practice behind the wheel. After considering it, the Flemish Region decided not to introduce direct access in 30 hours. The Vias Institute is in favor of its repeal in the two other Regions.
Combine the two
“The ideal is to combine the free sector and the driving school. Four or six hours of lessons at the start, in particular to learn the gaze technique, then several months with an experienced driver and finally two hours with an instructor just before the exam to be sure of what you have learned,” advises Benoît Godart. In Flanders, 41% of 18-30 year olds combine the free stream and hours with an instructor, compared to 24% in Wallonia and 33% in Brussels. Of all the Belgians, the Walloons are the most numerous to limit themselves to the free sector alone (39% of the candidates) while the Brussels residents are only 16% to make this choice and 25% of the Flemings.
Concerning the driving school sector as the only method, it is Flanders which must this time draw inspiration from Wallonia. In the south of the country, a candidate can only drive alone after 8 p.m. if he has passed a Technical Driving Ability Test (TCTC) in an approved examination center (AutoSecurity or AIBV). In Flanders, this test does not exist. According to the Vias survey, 33% of young people in Brussels learned to drive only through 20 hours of driving school, ahead of 30% of Flemings and 26% of Walloons.
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