Tougher Rules for Novice Drivers

The protocol imposing additional restrictions on new drivers will be directed to all driving schools and traffic police divisions across the country and will be binding as of January 20
Traffic accidents are the third leading cause of death in the country.Traffic accidents are the third leading cause of death in the country.

The Traffic Police Department of the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) has revised the rules for new driving licenses to curb traffic accidents and prevent untimely deaths.

The protocol imposes additional restrictions on new drivers as of January 20.

“The restrictions appear in the latest version of the relevant bylaw and apply to beginners who hold a driving license for light motor vehicles (LMV)”, Traffic Police chief, General Taqi Mehri, said Monday, IRNA reported.

There are five types of driving licenses in Iran for motorcycles, motor vehicles with a seating capacity for not more than 9 passengers, vehicles up to 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight such as large pick-ups and minibuses, vehicles above 3,500 kg gross weight such as buses and trucks, and special driver’s license for cranes and operators of heavy road-building and other machinery. The minimum age for driving in Iran is 18 years.

Rookie drivers henceforth cannot drive alone for at least three months after the LMV license is issued. The new measures mandate them to be accompanied at all times while driving by a passenger who also is holder of a valid license and has it for a year. The restrictions could be extended if the driver has transgressed during the three-month period.

The new drivers are also banned from driving between 10 pm and 5 am either alone or accompanied. They will not be allowed to drive outside the city where the license is issued, or on inter-city highways; but only up to 25 km on urban highways out of the city during the three-month probation.

A ‘beginner’ sticker provided by the traffic police should also be stuck on the lower left part of the windshield.

Although road crashes are caused by more factors than just human error, such as speeding, road rage, nonstandard vehicles and unsafe roads, facts and figures indicate that human error plays the biggest role, and its prevention could make a big difference in the number of road mishaps that has been cutting down innocent lives for almost half a century.

  Accident Rate High

Iran has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world. Although traffic accidents account for the third leading cause of death in the country, they are responsible for the highest years of potential life lost (YPLL) which is an estimate of the average years a person would have lived if he or she had not died prematurely, according to deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi.

Annually, over 20,000 people are killed in road accidents, with men comprising 75% of the figure, and mostly in the age group 25-40. Also, more than 800,000 people are injured in road crashes. About one-third of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults under the age of 30. Road accidents are also the leading cause of preventable deaths among children.

“The directive on the new restrictions will be sent to all driving schools and all traffic police divisions across the country,” Mehri said. “These measures are aimed at reducing the number of accidents leading to loss of life, particularly among the young people.”

In Iran, it is mandatory for those who want to obtain a driving license to take driving courses at designated schools. The courses consist of 16 hours of theory (that requires passing a written exam) and 24 hours of practice, meaning driving around in the city with an instructor.

Prior to 2005, attending a driving school to obtain a license was not compulsory, as there were fewer cars, but rapid urbanization has pushed people into a car-buying frenzy. Nearly 4 million cars ply the streets of the Tehran metropolis – a disorganized and growing capital home to 12 million people.

There are 1,474 registered driving schools across the country. According to data released by the Tehran Traffic Police, 1.7 million new driving licenses were issued in 2014 alone.

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