For the first time, the new Traffic Act, which comes into effect on 21 September, will require driving instructors to be regulated and the Department of Vehicle & Drivers' Licensing (DVDL) will have a register of approved driving instructors.
Sections 121 to 123 of the Traffic Act provide for the licensing of driving instructors who will undergo practical and written testing. In order to become a driving instructor, they have to be a qualified driver for two years and have a clean driver’s licence and police record.
The eight existing driving instructors will be grandfathered in and will be given one year to take a driving instructor’s test. DVDL will offer training on the current act and practical testing over the course of this year, to enable current instructors to meet the new requirements. The Department and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service personnel have been trained by a qualified UK driving instructor of 35 years’ experience to administer a uniform test to the eight persons who currently operate as driving instructors.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for DVDL Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said she was pleased to have instructors all on the same page.
“Having uniform driving standards in place will bring our driving test up to international standards and will hopefully allow for our driver’s licence to be exchanged in the United Kingdom and the United States. Currently, our citizens are allowed to drive for one year on their Cayman Islands driver’s licence, but after that year they must take both the written and practical test in these countries. With these new standards in place, our citizens will only have to take a written test, which is the universal standard," she explained.
Director of DVDL David Dixon was also pleased to have this new requirement in the Act.
“We have a situation today where anyone can be a driving instructor without any quality training. It has come to the department’s attention that there are auto mechanics teaching individuals how to drive with no formal qualification as driving instructors. This practice has to cease, and we must bring our driving instructors up to international standards, and place obligations on those whom we entrust to teach our teenage children.
"Under the Act, we will still allow for parents, guardians and friends to provide driving instructions, but we have increased the years of qualifying to teach from one year to two years," he added.