A concerned Rwandan citizen has petitioned Parliament to amend the law on conducting driving permits trials by allowing candidates to have a choice between automatic cars and manual transmission vehicles.
In a letter addressed to lawmakers, one Frank Shumbusho argues that the current methods used to conduct driving permit exams with manual cars only limits automatic vehicle owners to acquire ta driving license just like other citizens.
“Automatic cars are imported and permitted to enter the country just like manual vehicles but when it comes to conducting driving permit trials, automatic cars are not allowed yet owners know how to drive them,” Shumbusho said in part of his letter written to parliament and copied too Police and the Ministry of Justice on April 11, 2018.
Normally such letters petitioning parliament are received by the parliamentary reception, signed and sent to concerned Parliamentary commission head who reviews and analyses them before they are tabled to the commission.
For example, Shumbusho’s case can be handled by the commission on social affairs, which has to do a research and field work before the issue is tabled as an agenda by one of the lawmakers.
It can also become a potential draft bill, according to François Byabarumwanzi, a lawmaker and Chairman of the Commission in charge of fighting Genocide Ideology.
In his experience, Byabarumwanzi told KT Press that Shumbusho’s appeal to parliament on the subject matter is a process which may not bear fruits in a short time.
“For parliament to consider a citizen’s petition, it requires the commission to do a lot of lobbying. This may take more than a year because there are a lot of urgent matters to be discussed during plenary sessions,” Byabarumwanzi said.
The lawmaker also added that Shumbusho’s suggestion is not a big matter, but as a Parliamentarian, advised him to address the issue directly to the Rwanda National Police.
“For one to learn a car well must learn using a manual transmission vehicle. An automatic car doesn’t easily show how technically fit it is to drive especially engaging gears which are tested during a vehicle balancing exam. I think he can send the plea to Traffic Police or Police commission” Byabarumwanzi said.
However, Shumbusho also argued in his letter that automatic vehicle driving permit exams are being conducted elsewhere and have been successful in developed countries like Japan as a result of a technology trend of using automatic cars globally.
According to Statista, a global statistical portal, light vehicles with automatic transmission were expected to account for some 32% of total automobile production by 2017.
Global light vehicle production by transmission type (in 2012 and 2017) statistics show that as of 2012, manual cars stood at 49.4% but they declined to 46.2% in 2017.
Meanwhile in Rwanda, available figures indicate that between January and March this year, 3,322 people registered for the written driving tests while 22,479 for the practical driving trials.
Some motorists in Kigali told KT Press that if considered, Shumbusho’s petition would be a big relief to them.
“If considered this can change many things. More people will acquire permits, the police will make more money, and cheaper automatic automobiles will be bought… it’s a win-win situation,” said one Jean Claude Kalinganire, a driver.