Simulator training for learner drivers from 2019

ST VIDEO: TAN TAM MEI

SINGAPORE - Learner drivers will have to undergo simulator training from 2019 to better prepare them for road emergencies.

The validity of Provisional Driving Licenses (PDL) will also be extended from six months to two years for learner motorists who make applications or renewals after the fourth quarter of this year, said the Traffic Police (TP).

At a media conference yesterday, TP said riding simulators will be made available at the three driving schools and will be trialled in the first quarter of next year.

Details such as costs and the required number of sessions will be firmed up after the trial period.

The training will allow learner motorists to practise defensive driving or riding in a safe and controlled environment.

TP Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, said: "Many learners are not trained to or given the opportunity to react (in difficult traffic situations), for example, braking during dry or wet weather is very different... but we can't wait until it rains (for training)."

He explained that simulation training will also allow students to respond to other scenarios, including a pedestrian suddenly crossing the road.

A new learning portal on www.police.gov.sg will from next year include accident prevention tips and videos, providing a resource for those who already have their licences.

Said SAC Tee: "It is a rapidly changing landscape (for traffic policy), with the proliferation of e-scooters, personal mobility devices and autonomous vehicles on the road. This portal will help educate existing license holders too."

Besides featuring accident prevention tips, the portal will from next year allow learner drivers to practise with free mock theory tests. Learners can pick an option in which they are given feedback as they take the test, or go through the entire test before being shown the result.

The portal is already hosting free digital copies of the Basic and Final Theory Driving handbooks - in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. These books will no longer be produced from today.

Meanwhile, the extension of the validity period for the PDL will allow more time for learners to get their licenses.

To make transactions easier, learner motorists can also apply for or renew their PDL online, and hardcopy PDLs will no longer be issued.

Learner drivers told The Straits Times they believe the changes will help would-be motorists.

Said Miss Sheryl Foo, 20: "Extending the PDL validity will help to save time and money, it also gives learners more time to take classes."

Miss Foo, who has been learning driving for six months said the simulation training will teach learners to react to unpredictable incidents. "The training should teach you how to react and perhaps reduce accidents," she said.