New Rules Promise Driving Test Within Three Days for All

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli driving instructors protest near the Knesset in 2016, as driving testers around the country held a strike. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After a long legislative process and at least two lengthy strikes, the government has finally signed contracts with private organizations to test drivers for their license. Beginning next June, two private companies will do that work – and as a result, the Transportation Ministry promises that those seeking to take a driving test will have to wait no more than three days. Seven companies had participated in the tender for the contract.

The two companies – Teldor and Pemmy Premium – will be assigned districts of operation in the north, south, and center of the country. Each company will employ 90 testers. That will provide a total of 180 testers, 50 more than the current 130 that are deployed by the Transportation Ministry today. Of the testers currently working for the Ministry, 64 will be transferred to the private companies, and another 25 will remain in the Ministry, as supervisors. The rest will take early retirement.

The privatization plan was postponed by several years due to a lawsuit by testers working for the Transportation Ministry, which claimed that privatizing the testing process was “unsafe.” The courts eventually dismissed the lawsuit, but ruled that the Ministry should remain involved in the testing process in a supervisory capacity.

The plan for privatization was first announced in March 2016, prompting a strike by testers that lasted for months. As a result, some 40,000 road tests were cancelled, resulting in extensive delays for students who were getting their first license, and creating a shortage of drivers of commercial vehicles, as new drivers could not get their licenses to replace drivers who are retiring at bus and trucking companies.