Officials have quashed rumours that driving licences are being issued for sale by officials in the Vientiane Vehicle and Driving Management Division (VVDMD) – the body in charge of issuing licences in the capital.
The statement comes following public allegations that licences could be bought and sold on the black market, and were made by officials involved in the regular issuing process.
A man who gives lessons at a driving school in the capital, who asked not to be named, told the Vientiane Times recently that some unqualified foreigners were in possession of Lao licences. He said these people held licences, but could not drive. They came to the school to learn to drive, despite the fact that they already had a licence.
VVDMD Head Mr Nouanxay Phaxaisombath rejected the allegation. He said it was impossible for such an irregularity to occur. “The application procedures to obtain a driving licence are strict. There is no such case of this kind of irregularity,” he said.
Asked if it was possible that some undisciplined officials might have provided licences for sale illegally after receiving a bribe, Mr Nouanxay said this could not be the case, as the rules forbade such behaviour.
To obtain a driving licence, one is required to take a full course of lessons at a driving school. However, those who already have basic driving knowledge can have just a short training session with the school then take a driving test that involves both theory and practice. Mr Nouanxay said many foreigners resident in Laos have followed the requisite steps and are eligible to and allowed to take a driving test and get a licence to drive in Laos.
He cautioned those who were promised a licence in exchange for cash, saying they were being deceived, as had happened in the past. “I know that in the past people have been offered driving licences in this manner, but they never received them as promised. The victims came to us to claim the licence,” he said.
“In this case, they were deceived. The VVDMD has never offered such a service or made such a promise. Those who want a licence must comply with the rules.”
These allegations are not new. From time to time rumours circulate among the public that wayward officials are providing licences for unqualified drivers in exchange for money. In addition, it has long been speculated that many holders of driving licences have made a cash payment prior to the test to ensure they would pass.
Critics note that unqualified drivers are often to blame for road accidents.
The Ministry of Public Security reported recently that in the past 10 weeks, 246 people were killed in road accidents nationwide in which property damage amounted to more than 10 billion kip.
published with the permission of Vientiane Times