When the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced that they will start rolling out driver’s licenses (DL) with 10-year validity 3 days ago, the announcement brought more questions than answers.
The announcement also said that all drivers renewing their licenses must undergo and pass the Comprehensive Driver’s Education (CDE). The CDE materials can be obtained through any of the LTO-accredited driving schools for a fee. Bear in mind that the CDE is FREE if taken through LTO's LTMS Portal or Driver’s Education Centers. LTO Driver's Education Centers are different from LTO-accredited driving schools. The move is to encourage motorists to sign up and create accounts with the LTMS Portal in order to facilitate digital transactions which the agency hopes to shift to.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through ASec. Goddes Hope Libiran, has shed light on the matter to clarify some key areas of the 10-year DL and its corresponding mandatory seminar.
Not all LTO branches will roll out 10-year licenses
Contrary to popular belief, only a handful of LTO branches are equipped with the system to roll out licenses with 10-years validity. This means, if you are renewing your DL at an LTO branch that is not part of the pilot areas, the old system will still be used and a DL with a 5-year validity will be issued.
Pilot branches will require the seminar
If you are renewing at an LTO branch that is included in the pilot implementation of the 10-year DL rollout, that means you will be required to undergo the CDE seminar. It is FREE if taken in any of LTO’s Driver’s Education Centers and on LTO’s LTMS portal. The CDE is NOT FREE if taken in any of LTO’s accredited Driving Schools.
According to the LTO announcement dated October 25, 2021, the pilot rollout for the 10-year DL will start at the Central Office Licensing Section at the Quezon City Licensing Center (QCLC), while other LTO branches within NCR will follow suit starting November 3, 2021. What specific branches? Unfortunately, this was not included on the announcement.
CDE exam is just a 25-point questionnaire
For those who are a bit worried about failing the CDE exam/certification, don’t worry. According to the DOTr, the exam is fairly easy and is just a collection of 25 questions.
If you’re a law-abiding driver or motorcycle rider, then you should be pretty familiar with the answers, making the exam a piece of cake.
The seminar will be a maximum 5 hours
Just to recap, not all LTO branches will be rolling out the 10-year valid DL. For those branches that will, you will be required to undergo the mandatory seminar, which could last up to 5 hours.
Failed? You can retake the exam
The DOTr says that if a driver/rider fails the exam, he or she can retake it. However, neither the DOTr nor the LTO clarified how many examination retakes a driver or motorcycle rider can take, and if there is a waiting period in between examinations. We have yet to receive word if the LTO will disallow a rider from retaking the examination after a certain number of tries. For now, this is only the available info we have. There’s also a lot of questions that need to be answered with regards to the 10-year valid DL.
Remember, not too long ago, doctors were concerned that 10-years is too long for a driver’s license, and that a lot can change in both the physical and mental state of the driver. Hence, a medical evaluation every two years was proposed. Another point brought up was when it comes to elderly and their eligibility for the 10-year valid DL.
To be fair with the LTO, the 10-year license is a new provision and the agency is still sorting out any issues and birthing pains.