What is a Driver’s License?
Licensing a trade or a skill or indeed a business helps to bring about order. A Driver’s license is purposed to ensure that only qualified people drive on the roads. This ensures safety for all road users and protects vehicles from avoidable damage that can arise from improper driving. In Malawi, driver’s licenses are provided by the Department of Road Traffic Services (DRTSS). This is a government department under the ministry of transport and public works. There are regional offices located in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu.
Driver’s licenses in Malawi are governed by an Act of Parliament. Malawi issues driver’s licenses that are applicable to the whole Southern Africa Development Community region of 15 countries. The Malawi driving licensing system conforms to the European Unified Driving License system.
The minimum age requirement to be eligible to possess a driver’s license in Malawi is 18 years of age. It is mandatory for one to go through a driving course from a school recognized by the DRTSS and subsequently pass the driving lessons tests.
The Process in Getting and Passing the Test for a Driver’s License
Driving tutorials vary in length but the minimum is 30 days and can stretch to as long as 3 to 4 months depending on the arranged schedule. During the driving course, one aspiring for a driver’s license may be granted a temporary learner’s license. The learner’s license does not curtail one from taking final driving tests. The tests are oral and practical road drive. The oral examination tests one’s grasp level of the high way code. Before one is conferred with a drivers’ license, they must, as a matter of necessity, pass all the associated medical tests. Cardinal of the medical tests is the sight test, which one must pass or remedy with spectacles.
The revised system at DRTSS links all the recognized driving schools through the Internet network. Thus when one enrolls with a driver’s learner institution, the department database is updated too. However, the essential requirement before one can begin a driver’s license procession at the department is that one should have a registration card, which costs MK 5,000. This process includes capturing one’s fingerprint and facial features. Upon passing the driving tests, these stored details are used to print a uniquely numbered driver’s license.
There are three categories of licenses based on the purpose of what the driver is authorized to carry, namely for passengers carriage (P), goods carriage (G) and dangerous goods carriage (D). Then there are also codes which are represented by letters such A, B, C, D, E. The keynote about these codes is that they show the approved vehicles one can drive in terms of gross weight. For example under category G one maybe issued with either Class B for sedans and hatchbacks or class C for trucks.
The Process of a Driver’s License Renewal
Once issued a driver’s license in Malawi, it is valid for a specific period, usually two years. If this period elapses, a driver’s authorization to drive on Malawi roads expires. Although it does not mean that a driver’s skills and experience have expired. Upon expiry, a driver will need to apply for renewal, which cost MK15, 000. It is noteworthy to say that renewal fees are usually lower than first time charges.
Furthermore, it is allowed for a driver to upgrade their license to higher categories and classes subject to driving experience and passing relevant tests.
How Foreigners Can Drive in Malawi
Are you a foreigner and planning to come to Malawi? Well, you do not have to worry about driving. Any foreigner who holds a valid license can apply for a corresponding Malawi issued license without having to take a road test. Those that do not hold a valid license are required to take driving lessons at any DRTSS recognized driving school and thereafter be subjected to a driving test.
This article is written by BE FORWARD Supporters ID 27138 John Banda in Malawi.
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