On average, about three out of four applicants in Cape Town fail their drivers' licence tests, the city's deputy traffic chief has revealed.
Speaking at a conference on the regulation of the driving school industry on Wednesday, Metro Police deputy traffic chief Kelvyn Visser said that of the 5 026 applicants examined in September, only 1 889 had passed. In addition, a further 1 350 applicants had failed to turn up for their tests.
Visser said the high failure rate was one of the main factors that contributed to the serious backlogs at the 15 testing centres across the metropole.
The waiting period for a driver's licence test is between four and six months.
The high failure rate indicated a big problem, said Visser.
"The situation is not healthy at all at the moment. We need to look at why people are failing.
"Either the instructors are not experienced enough to train learner drivers or the examiners are not following the proper testing procedures."
But driving instructors said the attitude of traffic officers or examiners often had a bearing on whether an applicant passed or failed.
"We can't consult with them at all," said one instructor.
"It's either their way or no way. Even if we know that the applicant can drive and should pass, they simply fail them and there is nothing we can do."
Visser said people who failed to turn up for their tests were often found to have double-booked with another traffic licensing centre.
The city's traffic services department is addressing double-bookings, corruption and the examiners' attitude towards people, he said.
"We get complaints every day, but people often don't understand how many people are double-booking and even triple-booking for their drivers licence tests.
"We are addressing these problems with our new electronic booking system."
Visser said the current backlog would be reduced significantly when the Somerset West testing centre re-opened later this month and after the Mitchells Plain testing centre opens next year.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on November 06, 2008