It was August of 2017 when President, Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10930, which basically extends the validity of driver’s licenses (DL) by amending some of the provisions of RA 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Included in RA 10930 is the enactment of stricter policies for getting a DL, like the mandatory driving seminars for new applicants and those adding a restriction code to their DL. It also extends the validity of the license from 3 years to 5 years. And for those with no offenses during the last period, they may even get a 10-year valid driver’s license.
Fast-forward to 2021, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is just ironing out the policies that will govern the 10-year DL since it is scheduled to roll out less than 2 months from now.
However, the public seems to be divided on the issue. On one hand, the LTO had consulted doctors who said that a 10-year-valid DL might be too long. They raised the point that a lot can happen in a decade, both in the physical and mental state of the driver. This sentiment was also echoed by the operators of Driver’s License Renewal Offices (DLROs) commonly found inside commercial areas like malls.
On the other hand, the driving and riding public believe that rolling out a 10-year valid DL is a good program by the LTO, especially if it means less time spent falling in line inside an LTO or renewal office during renewal time, usually one's birthday. The program could also promote safe driving since it requires ZERO traffic violation in the past 5 years (for drivers with 5-year valid DL) to qualify. Drivers will see it as a reward and will try his or her best not to commit any traffic violation.
Yet is the 10-year driver's license actually that controversial? Are we the only one in the world with this policy? Our readers say no, and have cited a few countries which give drivers the privilege of a 10-year valid DL, some even go beyond 10 years.
We list down these countries which offer 10-years (or beyond) validity for driver’s licenses:
Having a federal form of government, the United States of America has perhaps one of the most complex driver’s license policies in the world. The rules may be different depending on what state you got your license from.
To be more specific, the State of Arizona (home state of the Phoenix Suns) grants their drivers an almost perpetual driver’s license, which only expires when they reach the age of 65. From then on, if you still wish to continue driving or riding, you will need to renew your license every 5 years.
To stay up-to-date, however, the State of Arizona only requires drivers to update their license with a new photo every 12 years, before the 65th birthday expiration.
In the State of Montana, a license can be valid for up to 12 years.
Closer to home, in Singapore, their government gives their citizens the privilege of having a driver’s license that's valid until the holder’s 65th birthday, almost similar to the State of Arizona in the US.
The only difference though is that after the license holder’s 65th birthday, he or she needs to renew every 3 years. For foreigners, Singapore only issues a 5-year valid DL.
For the French, their government allows for a 15-year valid DL. Not quite as long as a lifetime, but it's certainly far longer than most.
Italy is perhaps known to Filipinos as the home country of Valentino Rossi. Their drivers are given the privilege of a 10-year license if they are under 50-years-old. For those between 50 to 70 years of age, they must renew their license every 5 years while those who are 70 to 80 must renew their license every 2 years.
The United Kingdom (UK) must have the longest validity for any driver’s license in the world. The driver’s license itself is valid up to 70 years of age. However, the photo card needs to be updated every 10 years or drivers face a whopping UK£ 1,000 fine (about Ph₱ 70,000).
The Bundesstraße 500 highway in Germany
For the land of BMW Motorrad, German citizens are given the privilege of having a DL with 15-years validity. It's just as long as those granted in France.
Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which made up of Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, give their citizens the privilege of a 10-year valid driver’s license.
There are many countries that allow for a 10-year or more valid driver’s license around the world. What seems to be a common requirement among these countries with long validity is the need to update the photo much more frequently. Another common point is the shorter validity for senior riders. Many drastically shorten the validity length when a driver hits 70 because that's usually the age when eyesight and reactions diminish more much quickly.
Perhaps if our government and regulators look at these countries and their policies, they can find a compromise that's agreeable to both regulators and citizens.
Let’s just hope that when our own is rolled out in October, the guidelines that will govern it will not be prone to abuse by enterprising individuals.