A SYSTEMIC OVERVIEW ON DRIVER TRAINING AND DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEM IN MALAYSIA

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1 A SYSTEMIC OVERVIEW ON DRIVER TRAINING AND DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEM IN MALAYSIA Zulhaidi Mohd Jawi 1, Baba Md Deros 2, Mohd Rasid Osman 3, Azmi Awang 4 1,3 Vehicle Safety & Biomechanics Research Centre, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia 2 Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia 4 Driver Licensing Division, Road Transport Department (RTD), Putrajaya, Malaysia ABSTRACT Driver training and driver licensing have a long history in Malaysia since the independence, in which the driver training started with driving schools (DS) and today have been replaced by the establishment of driving institutes (DI). Both driver training and licensing are under the purview of the Road Transport Department (RTD), and the evolution of driver training can be divided into four main phases the introduction of driving schools (1957 to 1990); the upgrading period from DS to DI system in 1990 s; the introduction of Driver Education Curriculum (DEC) in 2000 and the enhancement plan (EP-DEC) seven years later; and the future accreditation program for DI by the year The development signifies the commitment by RTD to strengthen the process of driver training and licensing in the country, and since the DEC era, RTD together with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) have embedded scientific basis and outcome-based concept in the curriculum. The EP-DEC Committee, for example, had executed a gap analysis exercise on the previous curriculum based on learning domains in Bloom s taxonomy (cognitive, psychomotor and affective) and also created the Safe Driving Definition as a general guide to all the existing and future Malaysian drivers. One of the biggest challenges for RTD and the government, besides the enforcement matters, is to solve the issue of unlicensed road users. This issue is not only about societal and socioeconomic factors, but also the high involvement of young Malaysians under the legal age to possess the driving license. This systemic review explains the entire scenario of driver training and licensing in Malaysia, and it is hoped that more local researchers can contribute to the studies on the subject matter that received less attention from the academic point-of-view in the country. Keywords: Driver Training, Driver Licensing, Systemic Review, Road Safety, Malaysia INTRODUCTION Road safety is one of the public health concerns in the country today since both the rate of road accidents and related casualties can be considered as alarming. The country is not only suffers from the losses of human lives, victims incapacities, damaged road infrastructures, and healthcare cost, but also seemingly losing the control over the high involvement of young Malaysians i.e. the most affected group according to the statistics. Past and recent statistics show that the country has faced difficulty in balancing both the exposures (transport demand) and risks (safe operation) as the number of crashes and casualties had never reached any significant reduction in many years. Malaysia, in the post-millennium era, has embarked on several strategic road safety projects as a systemic countermeasures and they are still in progress (Table 1). This includes the driver training initiative, which has a long history in Malaysia s road transportation since the independence. Thus, this paper will explain the need to have an indepth assessment of driver training in the country in order to ensure its effectiveness and contributions to the entire road transportation system. PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 185

2 Table 1: Road safety strategic programs [1, 2, and 3] Category (C1) Enforcement (C2) Infrastructure Both (C1) & (C2) (C3) Vehicle Safety (C4) Advocacy & Education Program (P1) Automated Enforcement System (AES) (P2) Rear Seatbelts (P3) Motorcycle Lanes (P4) Black spots (P5) Airbags (later embedded in automobile safety rating ASEAN NCAP [3]) (P6) Helmet Program (P7) Driver Training (P8) Road Safety Education (RSE) & Community Based Program (CBP) The following notes recapitulate the above mentioned facts in order to understand the current road safety situation in Malaysia: i. Based on the recent statistics, the number of fatalities in 2014 were 6,674 and the related severe and minor injuries were 4,432 and 8,598, respectively [4]. ii. From the statistical estimate, road accidents had cost the country approximately MYR 9 billion a year [e.g. 5 and 6]. iii. Young road users (aged between 11 and 35) were the most vulnerable group i.e. 63% drivers and riders involvement in 2014 in all-severity cases [4]. iv. The number of users, vehicles and travels (measured in Vehicle Kilometer Travelled VKT) are steadily increasing each year, and so is the number of road accidents (856,027 reports received and 476,196 cases investigated by the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) in 2014 [4]). Moreover, there is no significant decrease in the number of fatalities that made the country one of the riskiest countries in the world by the internationally comparable indices fatalities per 10,000 registered vehicles; 100,000 population; and 1 billion VKT. [e.g. 6] v. The strategic programs were part of the previous road safety plan (National Road Safety Plan ) and some of these medium- and long-term programs has yet to produce the anticipated effects due to implementation issues [1]. Driver training, for example, had faced a long delay before the enhancement program finally took place in In addition, these strategic programs are basically systemic solutions that require proper quantitative and qualitative approaches to measure the outcomes or effects. MATERIALS AND METHODS This systemic review has covered the two main dimensions of driver training and licensing in Malaysia. The first part has looked into the evolution of driver training that is mainly under the purview of the Road Transport Department (RTD), and the second part will look into the status quo of the driver training and licensing in Malaysia and how the entire scenario relates with the current road safety situation in the country. This review is based on the collected published and unpublished sources (from RTD and MIROS), and it is worth to note that the published resources (especially journals and reports) on the subject of driver training and licensing in Malaysia are very limited. Therefore, the authors also referred to a substantial number of news reports in this review. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Evolution of Driver Training in Malaysia In general, the evolution of driver training in Malaysia can be divided into four main phases (Figure 1), i.e. (1) the introduction of driving schools (DS) since the independence (1957) until 1990; (2) the introduction of driving institute (DI) concept to replace the driving school system during 1990 s; (3) the introduction of Driver Education Curriculum (DEC literally translated from Kurikulum Pendidikan Pemandu or KPP) in 2000 and the enhancement plan in 2007 (Enhancement Plan for Driver Education Curriculum EP-DEC); and (4) the accreditation program for DI that is planned to be implemented in the near future. PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 186

3 Figure 1: The evolution of driver training in Malaysia Malaysia had achieved its independence from the British government in 1957; and with regard to the post-colonial era of driver licensing in the country, the history started on that very year with the introduction of driving schools (domestically referred to as Sekolah Memandu or SM). In a brief overview of how the federation of Malaysia was formed, there was a major change in terms of the participating states in 1960 s. Sabah and Sarawak states from the Borneo Island had joined the federation (also referred to as East Malaysia; 1963) and Singapore had opted out the country to form the now Republic of Singapore (1965) [e.g. 7]. Thus, the licensing of drivers had expanded to the East Malaysia region including the Federal Territory island of Labuan. Driving Schools (DS) vs. Driving Institutes (DI) In the early nineties, the government through RTD and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) had mooted the idea of Driving Institute (also referred to as Institut Memandu or IM) under the Driving Institute Development Policy (DIDP) [8]. As the naming of the new system suggests, from school to institute, the revamp was intended to upgrade the training structure to be more systematic. The common witticism about the old system is somewhat very true, in which many people are referring it to training under the trees. This is actually portraying the process of learning and training in the outdoor environment (or not in a properly designated area) and perhaps under the shades of trees to shelter from the hot and sunny Malaysia s weather. Therefore, the upgrading process had seen the development of driving institutes that are well equipped with proper facilities such as the classrooms for the theory classes and the internal driving track for the purpose of practical training and testing (partially parking and slope driving). With regard to the new setup, the government has made the offer to all DS permit owners to consolidate (based on their own convenience e.g. locality factor and financial strength for starting up) to form the driving institutes. The then overall 1,512 driving school permit owners (as of 1992) were still allowed to operate, but new permit would not be issued except for the purpose of establishing driving institutes. In 1994, only three driving institutes had successfully gone into operation, in which RTD had classified the effort as the pilot project. In addition, the number of driving institutes today (as in 2015) is 205, with another 48 new permits have already granted to operate in the near future [9]. Meanwhile, the number of driving schools had reduced to only 234, which is a significant reduction of nearly 85 percent since Nevertheless, all driving schools still need to depend on the driving institutes for the testing purposes. This is because the driving schools are usually did not have the proper track for training and testing in which prior to the driving institute era, the testing was done in RTD s facilities. Driver Education Curriculum (DEC), the Enhancement Plan (EP-DEC) & Accreditation of Driving Institutes. In the year 2000, RTD had introduced the DEC framework to replace the previous curriculum format [7]. In 2007, RTD had initiated the Enhancement Plan for the DEC (EP-DEC), together with the then newly-established MIROS (as the road safety research and development (R&D) arm for MOT). The earlier intention of this plan was to rationalize the basis of the driver education framework as well as to introduce an accreditation scheme for DI s. Nevertheless, the accreditation program was decided to be postponed into a later stage in order to allow the DI operators to accommodate the changes (latest driver education framework) outlined in the EP-DEC. PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 187

4 The EP-DEC Committee had introduced the new definition for highly skilled and safe driving culture for Malaysian drivers (referred to as Safe Driver Definition ), as the following: Driver with the knowledge and competency to drive safely and practicing the safety culture on the road The definition is established based on the EP-DEC theoretical reference to the learning domains in Bloom s taxonomy i.e. knowledge is referred to the cognitive domain, competency is referred to the psychomotor domain, and practicing the safety culture is related to the affective domain. This was the main contribution by the EP-DEC Committee since previously there was no clear basis for the development of driving curriculum in the country. The gap analysis had been done in order to gauge the previous curriculum framework with the learning taxonomy (at the level set by the committee as shown in Figure 2), thus producing the new DEC framework. Training Phase / Domain Cognitive Psychomotor Affective PART I (KPP-01) Theory PART II (KPP-02) Practical in Internal Track PART III (KPP-03) Practical on the Road LEVEL 2 (Comprehension) LEVEL 3 (Application) LEVEL 3 (Guided Response) LEVEL 4 (Mechanism) LEVEL 5 (Complex Overt Response) Figure 2: The basis used by the EP-DEC Committee in the gap analysis Minimum is set for the entire training phases at: LEVEL 3 (Valuing) In addition, the new items introduced under the EP-DEC, among others, were the separate textbook for motorcycle (B2 class entry license for motorcycle), enhanced training of trainers (TOT) modules, and the introduction of automatic transmission car license (DA class officially motor car without clutch pedal with unladen weight not exceeding 3,500 kg ; previously, D class can only be tested using a car equipped with a manual transmission) (Figure 3). Figure 3: The licensing system by types of licenses in Malaysia PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 188

5 Moreover, the future accreditation program is expected to be fully implemented in the next decade, since the effort towards realizing the objective has already taken place by the introduction of a precursor program called the DI Grading [10]. This program is important in order to strengthen the delivery by DI s especially in conveying the entire concept of EP-DEC, which has a more scientific basis in the curriculum structure. Thus, the accreditation is supposed to be at another level than the grading exercise i.e. grading is to categorize the DI s based on their current performance towards fulfilling the requirements being outlined by RTD; while accreditation is an honor to the DI operators i.e. they are self-sustainable in maintaining the training quality as well as meeting the EP-DEC ultimate aims and objectives. A Systemic Overview on Driver Training and Licensing in Malaysia Figure 4 shows the big picture of driver training and licensing in the country. It is a common knowledge that a significant number of road users, especially the young ones, had operated motor vehicles in public roads without license [e.g. 4, 11 and 12]. The formal licensing in Malaysia starts at age 16 and 17, whereby one can hold the probationary driving license (PDL) for motorcycle (B2 class) and car (D or DA class), respectively [e.g. 8]. The entire scenario relating to road safety will be discussed in the following. Figure 4: An illustration depicting the scenario of driver training and licensing in the country Driver Training and Licensing Process. The licensing at the entry level starts with the registration at DI or DS and one can choose whether to start with the entry license for motorcycle or car (17 min. age), or both [8]. There are three main tests that have to be taken before one can be granted the probationary driving license (PDL): Part I Theoretical test through computerized testing provided by third party companies such as My E.G. Services Berhad [13]. Passing this test will allow the new driver to possess learner s driving license (LDL). The license holders can only drive cars owned by DI/DS under the supervision of instructor with L plate being displayed, and for motorcycle no pillion is allowed. Part II Practical test in internal track such as parking and slope driving for car. Part III Practical test on the road (actual traffic). Passing this last hurdle will allow the new driver to possess probationary driving license (PDL). PDL will end after two years and will be upgraded to competent driving license (CDL), subject to the demerit points rule in the KEJARA system (road safety system) that monitor the driver s traffic offences. PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 189

6 Any driver may upgrade (add-on) his or her driving license either by class upgrade (e.g. four-wheeler classes from D class to E class; two-wheeler classes from B2 class to B class or usually being referred to as B-full ) or class addition (e.g. from just two-wheeler class B2 to add D/DA class in order to drive car). There is also what is referred to as the vocational licensing, in which those who want to work as driver for goods carrying vehicles or public road transports have to possess the goods vehicle driving license (GDL) or public service vehicle (PSV) license. Control Mechanism in Licensing There are two main agencies in the enforcement of road traffic in Malaysia according to the Road Transport Act (Act 333: 1987) i.e. the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) and the Road Transport Department (RTD). However, there is a significant administrative emphasis in the implementation whereby RMP (or specifically the Traffic Police Contingent) is more focusing on traffic management and related enforcement including road accident investigation and RTD is more focused on driver licensing and vehicle related matters. However, the newly introduced Automated Enforcement System (AES) is managed by RTD (speeding and red light running) to complement the existing RMP s speed cameras to combat speeding offences [3]. Other agencies that are also executing enforcement activities at a relatively smaller scale are the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD; public transport related offences) and the local authorities (e.g. parking offences). Moreover, other than the enforcement measures, there is also a demerit system known as KEJARA that is managed by RTD. However, the implementation is not up to what it supposed to be due to some weaknesses in the system [e.g. 14, 15 and 16]. Nevertheless, through the court of law, one may face imprisonment/fines and/or has his or her license being suspended or permanently revoked. On another note, the government also has never introduced any fitness-todrive assessment that may suspend one s license especially due to health problems, e.g. drivers who have heart related problems, seriously deteriorated vision (90% of driving is visual based), etc., and yet it is not uncommon to hear the news reports on road accidents relating to health reasons [e.g. 17 (heart attack) and 18 (epilepsy)]. Magnitude of Threats to Road Safety in Malaysia The Unlicensed Road Users The unlicensed road users is always a headache to the government since this issue is more towards the societal and socioeconomic concerns. First of all, RTD should be acknowledged for its efforts to not only ensuring the regular licensing system is in good order but also helping those with special needs. This include the road users with disabilities (invalid carriage license; A and A1 class for car and motorcycle, respectively), illiterate issues or having difficulty with computerized testing (special written or verbal test is provided) [19], as well as helping the low income group and the elderly to possess valid driving license through various programs e.g. the One Community, One RTD program [20]. Recently, RTD has introduced a program called mylesen in order to help the target group especially the teenagers to have motorcycle license at discounted rates [21]. It is estimated that there are approximately three million Malaysians who may want to be licensed but could not afford the cost [21]. It can be argued that the motorcyclists are the most vulnerable users in the country (60% of annual fatalities) and the government is encouraging the opposite; however, the implication of operating motor vehicle on public roads without valid license is even worse especially when involved in road mishaps. Unless the connectivity issue with regard to public transport and the motorcycle culture can be changed in the society, RTD still has to continue such effort as part of its social responsibility contributions. Additionally, the discussion on the unlicensed road users may have a bigger perspective in the context of Malaysia. There are other societal concerns with regard to the unlicensed road users especially the young ones e.g. operating motor vehicle at a very young age especially the motorcycle, significant number of unlicensed users in rural areas, and unwanted behaviors such as illegal race (mainly involving motorcycle) [e.g. 12]. According to the RMP s statistics, there were 218 drivers and riders aged 11 to 15 killed in road accidents in 2014, and they were certainly below the legal age. CONCLUSIONS This systemic review has looked into the driver training and driver licensing in Malaysia and discussed on the current scenario relating to road safety in the country. Since published resources on the subject matter in the context of Malaysia is very limited, the authors were heavily relying on the unpublished resources and news reports. This also indicates that the subject of driver training and driver licensing received less attention among researchers and perhaps this paper may attract more researchers in the country to explore the vast subject of driver training and licensing. PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 190

7 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors would like to express their gratitude to those who had supported and provided valuable information towards completion of this report. Special mention goes out to the members of Vehicle Safety & Biomechanics Research Centre (VSB) of MIROS and the officers from Driver Licensing Division of Road Transport Department (RTD). REFERENCES [1] Radin Umar, R.S. (2007) Integrated Approach of Road Safety in Malaysia, Proc. of the 7th Malaysian Road Conference, Sunway, Malaysia. [2] Rohayu, S., Hizal Hanis, H., Wan Fairos, W.Y., Norlen, M. & Radin Umar, R.S. (2013) The Effect of Rear Seatbelt Advocacy and Law Enforcement in Reducing Injuries among Passenger Vehicle Occupants in Malaysia, Int. Journal of Public Health Research 3(1): [3] Zulhaidi, M.J., Mohd Hafzi, M.I. & Khairil Anwar A.K. (2013) Developed Nation in 2020: Malaysia s Road Safety and Modernization Threats. Proc. of the Southeast Asia Safer Mobility Symposium, Melaka, Malaysia. [4] Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) (2015) RMP Annual Accident Statistics Kuala Lumpur: RMP. [5] The Malaysian Insider (2011) Road accidents cost the country RM9b every year. (accessed 1 July 2015) [6] Abdul Manan, M.M. (2015) Motorcycle Crashes in Malaysia Status, Risk Factor and Interventions. (accessed 10 August 2015) [7] Wikipedia.org (2015) History of Malaysia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/history_of_malaysia (accessed 5 August 2015) [8] Zulhaidi, M. J., Mohd Khairudin, R., Mohd Khairul Alhapiz, I. & Mohd Rasid, O. (2010) Laporan Status Semasa Institut Memandu di Malaysia. MRR 01/2011, Kuala Lumpur: MIROS. [9] Azmi, A. (2015) Cadangan Penstrukturan Hala Tuju Sekolah Memandu. Presentation to JKPIM Meeting (RTD) on 18 March [10] RTD (2014) Garis Panduan Penggredan dan Pembaharuan Permit Institut Memandu. Putrajaya: RTD. [11] Norlen, M., Wong, S.V., Hizal Hanis, H. & Ilhamah, O. (2011) An Overview of Road Traffic Injuries among Children in Malaysia and Its Implication on Road Traffic Injury Prevention Strategy. MRR 03/2011, Kuala Lumpur: MIROS. [12] Mohd Hafzi, M.I., Aqbal Hafeez, A., Zulhaidi, M.J. & Tan, C.Y. (2013) Factors Contributing to Crash Involvement of Unlicensed Motorcycle Riders in Malaysia. Jurnal Teknologi (Sciences & Engineering) 65(2): [13] Myeg.com.my (2015) Business Overview. https://www.myeg.com.my/overview.html (accessed 5 August 2015) [14] BERNAMA (2007) JPJ Akui Wujud Kelemahan Sistem Kejara. 29 January [15] Utusan Malaysia (2007) Atasi kelemahan sistem Kejara sebelum dikuatkuasakan. 29 October [16] Sinar Harian (2015) Gesa kerajaan kuat kuasa semula sistem Kejara. 14 August [17] Sinar Harian (2015) Sempat senyum sebelum meninggal. 10 July [18] Utusan Malaysia (2015) Lelaki rentung kereta terbakar. 1 February [19] Sinar Harian (2009) Kaji semula GDL golongan buta huruf. 11 November [20] Utusan Malaysia (2011) JPJ mahu perluas program Satu Komuniti Satu JPJ. 20 May [21] Berita Harian (2015) Program mylesen bagi peluang remaja miliki lesen motosikal JPJ. 13 August PROCEEDING OF CONFERENCE OF ASEAN ROAD SAFETY 2015 Page 191

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