The deadline for tuk-tuk drivers and riders of motorbikes with engine capacity above 125cc to hold valid licences or face fines has been pushed to August, a senior official at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on Thursday.
Chhoun Voun, director of the General Department of Land Transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on Thursday that the move will give those needing a licence more time to prepare for the test.
“The ministry has organised driving lessons that focus mainly on driving theory, with those sitting the test needing to understand and memorise articles of the Road Traffic Law and the meaning of traffic signs and road markings,” Voun said.
The decision comes after illiterate tuk-tuk drivers complained of the difficulties they faced passing the theory test, with the delay designed to give them more time to prepare. Many requested the ministry make it far easier for them to pass the theory test.
The ministry last Friday distributed books to the Department of Public Works and Transport and other related organisations in the capital and across Cambodia’s provinces to help tuk-tuk drivers learn the traffic laws and pass the driving test, Voun said.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol on April 9 gave the drivers of all tuk-tuk types a three-month grace period in which to obtain a driving licence.
He said 98 per cent of all tuk-tuk drivers “did not have knowledge of the traffic laws and did not hold a licence”.
He warned that after the deadline expired on July 9, the ministry would take measures to strictly enforce the law, with drivers without a valid licence to be fined.
Two weeks after the minister’s announcement, more than 3,000 tuk-tuk drivers had registered for a driving test. However, only just over 1,000 drivers passed the exam.
This is a very low pass rate compared with the ministry’s figure of 30,000 tuk-tuk drivers operating on the road.
Son Ny, 45, a resident in Prek Aeng commune in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district and a tuk-tuk driver operating without a driving licence, told The Post on Thursday that he had registered for a workshop to learn the traffic laws last month.
However, he said he had not applied to take the driving test as he was illiterate.
“I would like to take the driving test to obtain a tuk-tuk driving licence because I work in the transport sector, but I am illiterate so I cannot pass the theory part of the exam. I want [the ministry] to make it easier for me to pass the driving test,” he said.
The ministry’s training workshops and new theory test will include spoken questions to assist those who cannot read and write, Voun said.
Phnom Penh governor Khoung Sreng last week issued a statement on the extension, which will expire on August 17, so all tuk-tuk drivers and riders of motorbikes with a petrol engine exceeding 125cc or an electric motor above 11kw can obtain a driving licence.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has run nine workshops participated in by 6,435 people – 30 per cent of Phnom Penh’s tuk-tuk drivers – the statement added.