The Road Transport Department (JPJ) is concerned about the needs of the disabled and wants to make it a requirement for driving schools to be disabled-friendly.
Its director-general Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron said the department would discuss with the association of driving institutes about ways to address the issue.
“They are usually cooperative with us. It will be excellent if all driving schools can be made disabled-friendly. Otherwise, we will select several driving schools to include facilities for the disabled.
“We must understand that some of these schools are located in shoplots and it may be difficult for them to make it disabled-friendly.
“However, we can at least identify a few to be made disabled-friendly,” he acknowledged.
Nadzri said JPJ did not have an audit of driving schools in the country to find out which of them have trainers to teach learner drivers who were disabled.
“We know that Safety Driving Centre (Selangor) Sdn Bhd in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, on its own initiative offers training for the disabled.
“We will speak to the association to see how we can have more such trainers in other schools.
“In the past there was lesser demand for such facilities, so the schools did not think of making the place disabled-friendly. We have to keep up with the demand and foster inclusiveness,” he added.
Nadzri said JPJ would also look into ways to ensure the computerised theory driving exam location was more accessible to wheelchair users.
“Currently those in the slow learners category can sit for the written theory exam on the first attempt.
“However, the wheelchair-bound can only sit for the written exam if they fail the computerised exam three times.
“I understand that the problem can be due to the non-accessible venues,” he said, adding that they would discuss the matter for a better solution.
Nadzri said he would speak with driving schools to offer discounts to disabled learner drivers.
“We have special driving sessions under our corporate social responsibility programme and can include the disabled groups for the special exams,” he added.
The ceiling price for motorcycle driving lessons is RM350, automatic car is RM1,150 and manual is RM1,250.
The Confederation of the Associations of Driving Schools/ Institutes Malaysia (Perpisma) president Harun Shafiee said there was no dedicated driving school for the disabled in Malaysia but the instructors could teach the learners based on their disability.
“There is no special course in Malaysia to become a driving instructor for the disabled too.
“We know there’s one driving school in Petaling Jaya that offers driving lessons for the physically disabled but the disabled must bring their own modified vehicle.
“The driving instructors would need to figure out the ability of the driver and teach them accordingly,” he said, adding that it would be expensive for driving schools to have vehicles for the disabled because disability differs from one to another.
“Some disabled may have more strength on one arm, so the car will be modified based on their specific need,” he said.
Harun said no doubt the deaf could drive with the approval from the doctors, he does not know of any such trainers in the country.
“We do not know of any driving instructors who could teach the deaf using the sign language,” he said.