Government allows use of automatic transmission cars for driving tests

On 27 December 2019 at 05:31

The Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) has announced that drivers will now be allowed to test with cars with automatic transmission to get driving licenses. The decision comes after a private citizen, Shumbusho Frank signed a petition in May 2018, requesting the amendment of laws regarding the acquiring driving licenses to allow drivers to use automatic cars.

Using cars with automatic transmissions is allowed in Rwanda but until this day, driving license tests were given using cars with manual transmissions.

In his letter to the Parliament of Rwanda, Shumbusho said that only allowing manual cars to be used while conducting driving license tests reduces the chances of so many people acquiring driving licenses when it would have otherwise been easier with automatic cars.

"Cars with automatic transmission are legally purchased just as manual ones but when it comes to tests for driving license, drivers of automatic cars are not given the same opportunity as drivers of manual cars."

Alfred Byiringiro, Division Manager for Transport at MININFRA told IGIHE that even though there are no specific figures for the number of automatic cars already in the country, it is a fact that most cars currently being imported have automatic transmission.

"The concern was raised by a private citizen who reiterated that in other countries, drivers are allowed to test for driving licenses using automatic cars and we found that in fact, there is no reason why we shouldn’t reform the laws to allow automatic cars to be used in driving license tests."

He said that the law is being thoroughly assessed and that after cabinet approves it, the Parliament of Rwanda will have its say too and the law will be published in the official gazette.

Habimana Alexis, Sales Executive at Akagera Motors said that given the evolution of technology, in a few years, only cars with automatic transmission will be in circulation.

"Cars are sold according to the customer’s taste. Some will tell you they want automatic and other manual cars but if we judge by how the automotive industry is evolving, automatic vehicles will win the market."

He added that automotive industries across the world are now manufacturing more automatic cars than manual given that the clutch discs on automatic vehicles allow the transmission system to deliver power from the engine to the transmission way easier.

Andrei Gromyko, an expert in the automotive industry recently told IGIHE that reforms regarding driving licenses should be versatile.

"The laws should consider that it is not easy for everyone to coordinate movements while driving manual vehicles. Keeping your eyes straight on the road while changing speed gears and hitting brakes is not easy to coordinate at all."

Gromyco said that once the new law is approved, it will solve the problem of drivers whose temporary licenses expire before they have had the chance of working for a permanent license.

It is expected that the new law will be set into motion by 2021.

Using cars with automatic transmissions is allowed in Rwanda but until this day, driving license tests were given using cars with manual transmissions.