LTO sets new rules for driver’s license applicants
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has drawn up more stringent guidelines on the issuance of professional drivers’ licenses to streamline the application process and reward law-abiding motorists.
The new rules are contained in five LTO administrative orders to be published next week and taking effect in the first half of November, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Friday.
“The revised rules will serve two purposes,” said Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya. “First, they will better ensure the fitness and capability of license card holders. Second, they will streamline the application process to make it more convenient for the public.”
The LTO raised the minimum driving age for minors. Those applying for student permits must now be at least 17 years old, up from the current requirement of 16.
The minimum age for applicants for nonprofessional driver’s licenses was also raised to 18 years old, from the current 17.
Applicants for a professional license for light vehicles must be holders of a valid student permit at least six months before the application, up from the current five-month requirement.
For those using heavier vehicles, applicants must have either a valid nonprofessional license for at least one year prior to the application or a valid professional license to operate light vehicles for at least six months.
To help ensure that only “truly qualified drivers” are allowed on the road, professional driver-applicants will be disqualified if they have accumulated two or more citations for reckless driving in any given license validity period.
The DOTC also launched a “merit system”: Professional and nonprofessional drivers who have shown good behavior or had never been cited for any violation during the three-year validity period of their license, can apply for a five-year validity period upon renewal.
The LTO will also begin accepting medical certificates issued by any duly licensed and practicing physician, instead of restricting this requirement to accredited doctors stationed at LTO offices.
Abaya noted that families usually have personal doctors who are more familiar with their medical history. “This will allow applicants to have themselves examined by a doctor of their own choosing at a time and place convenient to them.”
“However, the revised rules require that a medical certificate submitted during application should have been issued no more than 15 days prior. Thus, the LTO will not accept medical certificates which are over 15 days old,” the official added.
The LTO will also scrap the conduct of lectures and seminars prior to the written and practical examinations. Instead, reviewers containing “all possible questions” to be tackled will be made public, and applicants are thus advised to review these materials carefully before taking the tests.
Those who fail the Basic Driving Theory Test or the Practical Driving Test twice will not be allowed to apply again within a one-year period. Flunking either test for a third time will render the applicant ineligible for the next two years.
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