The Ministry of Public Security is pushing forward a reform on the issuing of driver’s licenses in a bid to curb corruption in vehicle management departments, a senior ministry official said.
Under the reform, if someone wants to obtain a driver’s license, they can learn the necessary skills on their own and register online for an examination, said Huang Ming, vice-minister of public security.
Currently, those who plan to get a license must attend a minimum of 64 hours of driving classes that teach four subjects — two in driving theory and two in driving practice — held by training schools, with tuition fees ranging from 5,000 yuan ($815) to 10,000 yuan.
Applicants cannot register for tests themselves. The training agency registers with local vehicle management departments on behalf of applicants who want to apply for examinations.
“We are conducting research and soliciting public opinion, and will release the detailed reform plans in a timely manner,” Huang said.
In recent years, instances of corruption have been found in vehicle management departments “where some traffic police officers abused their power to help people pass the examinations and illegally issued them driver’s licenses in exchange for huge bribes”, according to the ministry’s traffic management bureau.
“We should draw lessons from the corruption incidents,” Huang said. “With strong determination, we will take forceful measures to minimize the institutional barriers and loopholes, and effectively prevent corruption at its root.”
Lyu Qiaoye, a student at Beijing Language and Culture University who plans to apply for a driver’s license, said, “I support the reform because it will save money and a lot of time.
Li Xue, an employee with Beijing Oriental Fashion Driving School, said the business has not yet received a notice from the authority about the reform.
“It’s too early to predict the reform’s impact on our business. But a lot of new students will still come to register for driving lessons each day,” she said.