In an effort to reduce fatal accidents caused by young drivers, the
Transportation Ministry is set to implement a comprehensive reform in driver’s
The anticipated changes include the introduction of a gradual
licensing framework and a classroom curriculum in driving, reducing the minimum
number of lessons from 28 to 24, and lowering the driving age by three months,
to 16 years and nine months.
On Wednesday, Transportation Minister
Yisrael Katz (Likud) met with industry leaders to discuss the plan’s
The reform was first promoted in 2007, when current Kadima MK
Shaul Mofaz was minister, but failed to be implemented.
officials say, the reform has the full backing of the minister and is
to go into final legislation and full implementation.
The specifics of
the initiative were hashed out in a three-anda- half hour meeting
ministry officials and representatives of some of the nation’s many
“The reform will, for the first time, bring
about a much needed change to driving culture in Israel and reduce the
involvement of young people in traffic accidents. It will improve the
of driving students, while emphasizing road safety,” Katz said. “Our
is to the Israeli drivers and the public in general.”
A key feature of
the plan is the creation of driving-instruction centers. The centers
replace the current setup where a student makes arrangements directly
driving instructor and takes all the lessons in the instructor’s
Students will instead enroll in local driving schools where they
will take a series of classes on topics like road safety rules, correct
behavior and problem- solving techniques, before they first take to the
with the instructors.
Another major change will be the creation of a
12-lesson theoretical curriculum. These lessons will prepare students
driving theory test, and also equip them with knowledge to better
vehicles while on the road.
Veteran driving instructor and National
Driving Instructors Association spokesman Avi Kramer, said a classroom
curriculum was vital for the training of good drivers.
“Today, a student
who plans to take the driving test in September doesn’t bother to learn
how to drive under wet road conditions. If an instructor tries to take
to teach the principles, the students blame them for wasting time,
not necessary for them to know how to do it because it won’t rain before
test. The curriculum will give instructors the chance to pass on their
knowledge, even about things that won’t be examined in the road test.
lead to better and more well rounded and prepared young drivers,” Kramer
Due to the added cost of the classes, the ministry decided to
reduce the minimum amount of lessons required before taking a road test
The reform will also introduce a licensing framework that has long
been used in other developed countries like the United States and
reform will allow new drivers to experience driving gradually, with
stages, before they are allowed to drive on their own.
The first stage
will begin when the applicant turns 16 and a half. The student will be
register with a driving instruction center and begin learning to drive.
apply to take a road test at the the age of 16 and nine months, rather
17 as is currently the case.
After passing the test, new drivers will
have to undergo six months of chaperoned driving before they can drive
own. During the first three months, the driver will need an adult escort
times, and during the second three months, the young drivers will be
drive on their own during the day, but will continue to require an
driving at night.
Shmuel Abuav, director-general of the Or Yarok road
safety advocacy group, said he was pleased with the proposal.
drivers were much more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than
drivers and their tendency to have their first driving experiences at
a recipe for disaster, he said.
“Our studies show that young drivers tend
to be involved in a disproportionate amount of accidents and that a main
of those accidents is overconfidence on the part of the driver,” Abuav
“Young drivers believe they have strong driving skills, but they don’t
necessary driving experience.
Combine overconfidence with the difficult
driving conditions that the young drivers experience when they first
their own and accidents are just waiting to happen.”
Abuav said that in
the current situation, many young drivers’ first chance to drive alone
place at night, while going out with friends.
“A new driver gets in a car
with two or three friends.
They go out late at night.
drink alcohol and return home in the early hours of the morning. The
friends exert peer pressure on the driver to drive faster and take more
This is a dangerous mix that can lead to tragic
Under the new, gradual system, young drivers can gain experience
driving alone during the day and driving with an escort at night, and
prepared for the challenges when they are finally allowed to drive
Abuav’s only criticism of the reform was that it took such a long
time for it to go ahead.
“Everything was known and on the table three
years ago. There is no reason for something so important and lifesaving
such a long time to go through the bureaucracy,” he said.
Kramer said the
reform was perfectly acceptable to a majority of the driving
that there was absolutely no professional reason to delay its
“Thousands of instructors have already gone through the
necessary training to teach under the new requirements and on our end
is ready to go,” he said.
The reform bill is expected to be voted on at
the start of the Knesset’s winter session in October and ministry
they thought it would be ready for implementation before the end of