Automobile Association of Kenya (AAK), the largest motoring club in the country, is strengthening its driver competence assessments to determine whether they have skills and abilities to drive safely as one of the measures of reducing road carnage.
The assessment is an honest and objective exercise developed to identify the driver’s strengths and weaknesses behind the wheel and to help increase confidence on today’s busy roads.
The assessment is useful for all drivers and it is an opportunity to audit ones driving skills. Young drivers who just acquired driving licenses and need an assurance of their ability to drive, those that don’t have much experience on the road and need to drive, older drivers that have been on the road but need an assurance that they are still competent drivers and anyone who needs reassurance that they can drive. The assessment also offers an opportunity to corporate organizations to assess the safety levels within the organization.
The Association Director General Mr. Francis Theuri said it is also important for organizations to assess the competence of their drivers before employment to determine suitability. This does not only ensure safety of the driver but also that of the vehicle saving the employer costs associated with vehicle downtime.
“One sure way of enhancing driving safety is to ensure that the drivers have the right driving competence levels. Vehicles are expensive assets and if mishandled, are dangerous machines.” he said.
The beneficiaries of the driver assessment service include; corporate organizations, Government and private motorist. The Assessor will look out for the driver’s knowledge of basic car care, vehicle control while on the road, driving in traffic and road maneuvers, use of signals and observance of road signs, Highway Code, attitude and behaviour on road, alertness, and anticipation.
The ability of a driver to effectively interact with the vehicle, the road and other road users largely demonstrates his competence as a driver. The assessment can be done during the day or night depending on the client’s choice.
After the assessment, the AA prepares a report of findings which indicates the areas of strengths and weaknesses for each driver. If areas of weakness are identified, the AA gives recommendations on the kind of refresher training required. The number of remedial lessons depends on the findings of the assessment.
“AA offers two categories of driving assessments. The test route is about 10km and designed to capture most of the road conditions. Advanced Driving Assessment is more comprehensive and the route captures all conditions of the road including main roads, highway and built-up areas where possible. The test route measures between 30km and 45km”, added Mr Theuri.
The Assessor uses a check list to rate the candidate’s performance. Tests of various road manoeuvres are included such as overtaking, reversing, cornering etc. The candidate is free to give a running commentary if he so wishes in order to demonstrate his ability to read the road but this is not a test requirements.
If the candidate passes the assessment the “AA Certificate of Competency” is issued in addition to the report.