Ministries propose further delay in commercial driving license rules

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The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Security have proposed that the government delays fining container truck drivers who fail to upgrade their licenses by the end of this year.


The two ministries made the move following transport companies' complaints that they are suffering losses with more than half of their drivers not having the FC class license required under a regulation that took effect on July 1.


The two ministries also suggested that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung order Vietnam Customs to send all imported goods stuck at seaports, except for those that are frozen, bulky or otherwise difficult to transport, to other nearby ports for going through the needed procedures.


Under the transport ministry's new regulation that was first scheduled to take effect last year, but postponed for a year, all container truck drivers holding class C, D, and E licenses have to upgrade to the FC class after taking the required driving tests.


However, only drivers with three-years of experience and 50,000 kilometers without incident are allowed to apply for the driving test. Those who fail to meet these requirements have to take courses in theory and practice before taking the driving test.


Despite the one-year extension, due to various reasons, many drivers have not upgraded their licenses as regulated.


While a significant number feared that the courses would be time-consuming and affect their work, others just waited for agencies to delay the regulation further or amend it, the ministry said.


As of May 15, over 19,800 drivers had registered to upgrade their licenses, of whom 10,000 either have since taken the driving test or the required courses in preparation for it.


Implementation problems


Pham Hai, deputy chief of road and railway traffic police department in the northern city of Hai Phong, where some of the main seaports are located, said police also faced difficulties in enforcing the new rule.


Under the regulation, drivers who fail to abide are to be fined VND2-3 million (US$105-157) and have their trucks and licenses confiscated for between ten and 60 days.


However, since the traffic police don't have FC licenses, they cannot impound the trucks, Hai said.


Furthermore, the Hai Phong police department has very few spaces where large vehicles like container trucks can be parked, he added.

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