Israelis who have a driver’s test set for Tuesday will have to reschedule, as the official testers of the Transport Ministry go on a one-day – for now – strike. The reason: The inspectors oppose the Transport Ministry’s intention to authorize private companies to test drivers for their readiness for the road.
Last week, the Ministry advertised a tender to license private groups to test prospective drivers on their on-road skills. The tests would be given by driving school teachers, with whom prospective drivers already work. To get a license, students must take a minimum number of lessons (between 3 and 19, depending on age and background), and the Ministry wants to grant the teachers who give those lessons the ability to test students as well.
The current Ministry inspectors see this as a back-door attempt to replace them with private-sector service providers. Speaking to business daily Globes, Bernard Grossman, chairperson of the testers’ union, said that if the issue was efficiency, “then why has the Ministry turned down our ideas for streamlining things. Even so, the Ministry released its tender. We will not stand by silently and watch as the Ministry destroys Israel’s safe driving culture,” allowing private groups to compete in order to serve students more cheaply, he said.
In a statement, the Ministry said that given the number of people seeking licenses, Israel had no choice but to expand the number of testers, “and by doing so the wait for a test date will be cut from three months to three days, as we expand our supervision of drivers and teachers using advanced technological methods.”