Last week, an exchange of views took place in the Mobility Committee on the abuses in the driving schools that came to light in the Pano report. “I want to get rid of the bad apples,” says Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. One of the ways to combat fraud is to focus on digitization. In anticipation of full digitization (2022), it is now being examined whether it is feasible to give the inspection services access to the software systems of the driving schools.
The report showed that rogue driving schools offer certificates of competence for sale without the prospective driver having taken even one driving lesson. Normally, you will only receive such a certificate - which entitles you to a provisional driving license - after following twenty hours of driving lessons and after the driving instructor considers you sufficiently capable of independently participating in traffic.
In recent weeks and months, numerous constructive consultation moments have already taken place in the driver training & examination taskforce. In the meantime, this has resulted in the approval in principle of a Flemish Government Decree with which fraud can be tackled before, during and after exams. Think of identity change, use of cameras or aggression. But Minister Peeters wants to go much further.
The inspectors of MOW are of course already carrying out administrative checks at driving schools. But in order to make the inspections more efficient and faster and moreover to be able to perform more inspections, it is currently being examined whether it is feasible to grant MOW access to the software systems of the driving schools. That proposal came from Federdrive itself, the federation of recognized driving schools, which of course also benefit from the disappearance of rogue driving schools. “That would only happen in anticipation of complete digitization,” says Minister Peeters.
“At the moment there is still too much use of paper documents, which makes counterfeiting easy. That is of course not possible, that is forgery and that is a crime, but apparently it happens anyway. A digital platform for driving instructors and exam centers should prevent such fraud. “If everything is done digitally and you have to enter digitally when people are taking a driving lesson or are going to take an exam, everything via your digital citizen platform is less likely for such fraud practices,” explains Peeters. According to year, that platform should be ready next year.
Furthermore, the minister emphasizes that she wants to continue to work with all partners (both her administration, the task force, the FPS Mobility as well as the police and the judiciary) and to continue to focus on sanctions where necessary. “In the interest of road safety, every candidate driver has the right to a qualitative driver training in which the rules of the game must be identical for everyone,” Peeters concludes.