The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said a trial road test program is scheduled to be launched next month as part of its plan to implement its much-vaunted new road test by September 2014.
Hsieh Chieh-tien (謝界田), director of the DGH’s motor vehicle division, said the DGH planned to execute the trial road test program in three stages.
Between now and August next year, those volunteering to take the road test will pay NT$2,000 less for their driving lessons.
He added that they must first pass the test on the designated test route before they can take a road test, but the scores of the latter will not affect the drivers’ acquisition of licenses.
“The trial road test at the first stage will be administered by DGH’s Training Institute, which will start taking registration on the 14th of next month,” Hsieh said, adding that the motor vehicle office in Penghu could also start administering trial road tests next year.
Hsieh said the trial road test given by the Training Institute will be executed on Jingcheng Road (金城路), Cingshuei Road (清水路) and Cingyun Road (青雲路) of Tucheng (土城) District in New Taipei City (新北市). To avoid interfering with traffic, the tests will be given between 9am and 1pm and between 1pm and 3:30pm every day.
Hsieh said that, starting in September next year, all those volunteering to take the test must pass the written test, the test on the designated route as well as the road test before they can receive their licenses.
The rule will apply to those taking the road test between September and August next year as well as September next year and August 2013, which will form the second and third stages of the trial road test program.
While more motor vehicle offices and some driving schools will administer the road test at the second stage, all motor vehicle offices and more driving schools will come on board at the third stage, Hsieh said.
He said that the results of the three-year program will be carefully reviewed before the DGH implement the mandatory road test on all licence applicants.
Meanwhile, the DGH has amended the evaluation sheet of the driving test.
For example, points will be deducted if motorists switch lanes or reverse their vehicles without signaling; talk on mobile phones while driving; fail to yield to pedestrians, ambulances or fire trucks; or do not finish parking at the roadside within three minutes. The number of points deducted could range from eight to 32.
Applicants must get 70 points out of a possible 100 points to pass the road test, based on the DGH’s plan.
Currently, motor vehicles offices or driving schools around the nation administer the driving tests on a designated test route in a controlled environment, in which drivers are evaluated on their ability to react to a number of scenarios, such as backing into a parking space.
However, critics say the test routes do not reflect actual traffic situations that motorists encounter when they drive. Many drivers are still afraid to drive on actual roads even after they have been granted licenses, they say.