Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Works and Transport has revealed that it is not aware of illegally operating driving schools in Uganda. Karim Kibuuka, the head of motor vehicle inspection section at the ministry, said their latest data shows the country has 90 licensed driving schools.
Kibuuka’s response followed the Kampala Dispatch’s inquiry on registered driving schools after the traffic police through its spokesperson, ASP Faridah Nampiima, threatened to conduct an operation targeting unlicensed driving schools.
Nampiima said there are many driving schools whose operating licenses expired sometime back but have not bothered to have their permits renewed. She added that some driving schools have never been licensed at all.
In an Email response, Kibuuka says the ministry conducts quarterly inspections of all licensed driving schools or whenever there is a new applicant. “90 number of driving schools as of to date, on a quarterly basis; and whenever there is a new applicant,” Kibuuka said.
Police believe the illegally operating driving schools churn out incompetent drivers who cause hundreds of deaths and injuries every year. At least 4,159 people died in road crashes in 2021 which was an increase from 3,663 road deaths the previous year.
The guidelines for acquiring a license to operate a driving school as issued by the Ministry of Works and Transport over a year ago indicate that one must have the training and administrative facilities, must have proof of ownership or tenancy agreement for the training ground, must have two vehicles in good mechanical conditions and must have at least two experienced driving instructors.
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The vehicles for training learner drivers must have dual brakes and dual clutches for manual cars marked with the name of the driving school, training material and valid trading license. Felix Odongkara, the CEO of Automobile Association, says many driving schools are fond of churning out half-baked drivers.
Odongkara explains that any learner driver who trains for less than six weeks (one and a half months) can be described as incompetent. He believes the six weeks are enough for someone to get theory and practical skills.
Odongkara adds that an ideal driving school must have sufficient room for learners to be engaged in theoretical studies majorly the signposts, do and don’ts on roads. Learner drivers, according to Odongkara, need a spacious area for training before they are put on the road.