I’d like to talk about Driving License and courses in different countries.
In Poland, at first you have to sign up for a course. You pay for it on your own and you can choose any driving school you want. Its usually more or less, $650. A driving course should consist of 30 hours of theoretic preparation and 30 hours of driving. When you are done with most of your paid “hours”, you should be examined by your instructor. He fills in some papers and now you need over $60 for national exam. You have to sign up in a closest Voivodeship Traffic Center. It sounds like White House but it’s usually just a single floor building with place for driving exercises in front of it. National exam has two parts. Firstly, you have to pass ABC test of multiple choice with eighteen questions. It allows you to test your skills in driving. First exercise to do is driving forwards and backwards on a L-shaped lane. Second is starting from a slight height. You car mustn’t move back more than 20cm. Lastly, if everything went ok, you go to show your skills in real traffic in your city.
Hope you found it interesting.
What do you have to do to get Driving License?
When I got a driver’s license, it worked like this:
- At age 15, I took one semester of driver’s training in school. It was an ordinary high school subject and didn’t cost us anything. We got three hours of theoretical and legal preparation, and about two hours of driving every week. Some of the driving was on a course, and some of it was on the road. We drove all different sorts of cars – everything from little subcompacts, to muscle cars, to big station wagons – mostly lent by local car dealers. At the end of the course we saw a movie that consisted of police footage of horrifying accidents that included bloody, screaming people and a teenage boy lying across the street from his own head, among other things. Some of the girls cried, and a person or two threw up. State law said they had to show it to us, and I think it was a good law.
- When we had finished the course in school, we could get our driver’s permit, which allowed us to drive legally if a licensed driver was in the car. So I drove around with my mother, my father, my brother, and anyone with enough courage, in the car with me.
- When I turned 16, I went to a state department (in my state it’s the Secretary of State’s office, but in other states it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles). There I had to take a short written test, and then an examiner got into the car with me and made me drive around the neighborhood, park in various ways, etc. I did okay on the test, so they took my picture and gave me a temporary license. A week or two later, my regular license came in the mail, and I had full state driving privileges.
- Every new driver has an accident within one year of getting his license. Mine was just a small fender-bender.
An alternative to going through that process would have been to wait until I turned 18 and just take the test, because in my state people over 18 can get their licenses without any formal training, as long as they can pass the tests. But of course, most kids don’t want to wait until they’re that old to get a license.
Nowadays, for a lot of kids in my state, the process is a little bit different. In many cities, the schools don’t offer driver’s training anymore, so they have to go to private driving schools. They also don’t get complete driving privileges now until they’ve been driving for a certain length of time. For example, I don’t think 16-year-olds are allowed to drive after dark for a while, and they can’t drive with other teenagers in the car for a few months. Worst of all, however, the state no longer requires them to see the bloody movie.
If you speak a language other than English (such as Arabic, Polish, Ukrainian, etc.) many driving schools allow you to take your driving test on the $150 plan. That means they charge you much more for the test results, but you don’t have to take the actual driving test. Every immigrant knows which driving schools offer this more-money/no-test plan, and it sounds attractive, except that the new driver and the examiner and school owner might get arrested. (I personally blew the whistle on one such examiner, and he was arrested.)
One of the biggest problems for immigrants to my state is that they are issued a driver’s permit and don’t know what it is. They think it’s a temporary license to keep inside the license from their country. It’s really a provisional license that allows them to drive only under the supervision of another licensed driver. So, they drive around alone on this permit – thinking they have a license – get stopped by the police for a minor violation, and then get arrested and hauled into jail for driving without a license.
Thanks Jamie. I see that’s not that strict there in Michigan and I really like it. I bet there may be less accidents than in Poland anyway. I’d love to drive different cars during my course.
I have had arguments with Germans about my state’s drinking and driving laws. In Michigan the wife of the current president of Daimler Benz was once arrested for letting teenagers drink at a party in her home. Germans think this is outrageous, because in Germany teenagers can drink.
I tell them that in the US kids can’t drink, because they have to drive. Most places in the US have no good bus service, so kids drive cars and even own cars. In Germany they have good bus service, and they let kids drink, but they don’t let them drive.
So Germany lets kids drink but doesn’t let them drive. The US lets kids drive but doesn’t let them drink.
Personally, I think it’s better to be able to drive than to be able to drink.
That’s quite funny, bearing in mind Poles are told by Germans to be drunkards. I believe, if people go to any other country, they should stick to its law, not to discuss.
We have both - no good bus service and teenagers cannot drink.