Passing your driver’s test to be easier, less costly

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Passing your driver’s test to be easier, less costly

The nation’s driver’s license racket is about to be busted as the government slashes the byzantine rules that have driven car owners crazy and made driving schools rich.

The course driving part of the driver’s test, in which an applicant has to navigate a set course, will be cut, and the number of questions on the written test will be slashed from 752 to 300, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security reported at a cabinet meeting yesterday at the Blue House. The average cost of getting a license will be more than halved from 758,000 won ($661) to 297,000 won.

According to President Lee Myung-bak, the changes are long overdue.

“If you compare Korea to the United States, we have to pay so much more for a driver’s license and the procedure is far more complicated,” Lee said during the Ministry of Government Legislation’s Dec. 20 briefing for its plans for next year.

“I looked into the matter and was told that driving schools have lobbied to block the reform. I don’t see any reason to resist the change,” Lee added. “And the written test does not have to be unnecessarily difficult.”

Lee also pointed out at the meeting that he had pointed out the problems with the driver’s license system more than a year ago. “I think the changes should be made as soon as possible,” Lee said.

The changes may take effect as soon as next month.

The amendments include getting rid of unnecessary steps in the aptitude test for potential drivers. Applicants will be able to substitute the written exam for 10 additional hours of driver’s education classes.

Applicants will still be subject to driving tests on road, but they won’t have to do the course driving.

The ministry is also planning to limit the frequency applicants can take the test to just once a week, and those who fail the test three times or more will be subject to an additional five hours of driving practice in classes on the road.

To help foreigners obtain licenses, the ministry will have written exams available in four more languages including Russian and Mongolian, bringing the total to 10.

Written exams can currently be taken in 415 driving academies, as well as 26 test centers nationwide. Driver aptitude tests, which measure vision and hearing, can also be taken at the academies and at hospitals.

By Christine Kim []
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