Starting on Monday, people taking tests for motorcycle driver’s licenses in certain vehicle registration offices nationwide must complete a two-hour road safety course to obtain the licenses, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said yesterday.
Directorate Deputy Director-General Mile Chen (陳茂南) said the course would be available free of charge. The requirement applies to the vehicle registration offices in Shilin District (士林) in Taipei, Banciao District (板橋) in New Taipei City (新北市), Hsinchu City, Fengyuan (豐原) in Greater Taichung, Hengchun (恆春) in Pintung County, Chiayi City and Greater Kaohsiung.
“We will implement the requirement as a trial for six months and assess the benefits it brings and if the public supports the policy,” Chen said. “We are scheduled to officially implement the policy nationwide in January next year.”
Hsieh Chieh-tien (謝界田), director of the DGH’s motor vehicle division, said that test-takers cannot obtain a license without taking the course. However, he said they have the option of taking the road safety course first and then the tests later, or vice versa.
“There will be a quiz after participants finish the course. For now, their scores on the quiz will not affect their rights to take other tests,” Hsieh said.
If a person fails the written or the road test and needs to return to retake the exam, they will not be required to take the road safety course again, he added.
According to the DGH, the course materials will include videos of real traffic accidents involving motorcycles and lectures on defensive driving, right of way and other basic knowledge that motorcycle riders should have. Because teenagers and students are at high risk of motorcycle accidents, the directorate said that it would work with school authorities to reinforce road safety education among students.
DGH statistics showed that about 1,200 people died last year in “A1 category” accidents, meaning that the accidents caused people to die on the spot or within 24 hours. Of the dead, 26 percent were between 18 and 24 years old. Seventy-seven percent of motorcycle license test takers are between 18 and 23 years old.
In related news, the earthquake that hit the nation on Wednesday has drawn public attention to the safety of the train operations when natural disasters strike.
Lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday urged the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to consolidate the channels that disseminate emergency information to the transportation systems.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that the high-speed rail, Taiwan Railway Administration and MRT systems have their own ways to transmit emergency information. He said the ministry should consolidate these three different platforms and make it faster for the systems to react to natural disasters.