Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Traffic licensing department issues about 240 driving licences on an average day, according to official statistics.
While 120 to 180 licences issued are to people who pass driving tests, the rest are issued directly to licence holders from certain countries such as America, Canada or GCC nations without having to appear for tests.
"Nearly 300 people appear for tests everyday [at Muroor] of which 60 to 70 per cent successfully pass the tests to get their licence. Mostly as many as 250 people get their licence daily," said Major Abdullah Al Qadi, the Director of the Drivers' Licensing section, at the Abu Dhabi Traffic Department.
There are 776,373 licence holders in Abu Dhabi Emirate, inclusive of Al Ain and Tarif, as per statistics from 1960 to February 10, 2008. Yearly about 63,259 new licences are issued.
Fifteen years with the department, Al Qadi says that the number of people who pass the tests has gone up steadily over the years.
"Everything has changed for the better... from the way tests are conducted to the evaluation process."
A person who holds a driver's licence from another country will be given one road test, (skipping parking tests) to prove their driving skills, after which he undergoes the eyesight test. If the applicant fails in this test, he is sent to the Emirates Driving Company to learn the basics and given an objective type exam. Once the applicant passes this exam, he is given a signal test to verify the know-how of traffic signboards. Finally, the applicant is given a date for a road test.
If a person fails three times in the road test, he is sent back to the driving school for more coaching.
"Earlier we had up to 800 people appearing for tests every day. This means each person got roughly two minutes with the inspector to prove his driving skills. Most people are tense during these initial minutes and fail the test because of this."
But now, with less candidates being reviewed, each person gets 15 to 20 minutes, he added.
Also since there is the fear of being sent back to the driving school for further coaching, which involves more costs, most people make sure they attend the tests only when they are fully confident, he said.
"A few years ago a man appeared for at least 19 driving tests and he couldn't make it. After that he quit trying for the licence altogether. There have also been other similar instances...in such cases the problem is at the applicant's end."
On the rise: Driven to success
Year Number of people who got driving licences in Abu Dhabi after undergoing driving tests
- 2004: 33,754
- 2005: 42,372
- 2006: 48,227
- 2007: 51,180
In 2007 alone, 10,800 people who had driving licences from certain countries were issued with licences directly without taking tests.
There are 776,373 licence holders in Abu Dhabi Emirate holding eight different types of licences.