How do I become a Driving Instructor?
Many people have raised questions to the Arrive Alive website on how to become a driving instructor. We believe that the passionate and professional driver instructor has an important role to play in enhancing road safety - not only for those they are training but for all road users!
We have raised a few questions on becoming a driving instructor with the Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors and would like to share the answers on the Arrive Alive website:
First of all, ask yourself why you want to become a driving Instructor.
- I need to earn money fast and have a car.
- I like the idea of having my own business and being self-employed.
- I like working with people and enjoy driving defensively. I would enjoy training others.
To help you decide if you should continue to try to qualify as a Driving Instructor:
I need to earn money fast and have a car.
This is the worst reason to become a driving Instructor.
Too many fly-by-nights operate on this basis. You need to be prepared to work hard to qualify, train students exceptionally well and make many sacrifices to succeed.
I like the idea of having my own business and being self-employed.
This is a half-good reason to start your career as a driving Instructor. Bear in mind that there is a missing factor here. You need to be committed to producing safe, competent drivers to deserve the right to qualify as an Instructor.
I like working with people and enjoy driving defensively. I would enjoy training others.
I am prepared to struggle financially to establish my own business and realize
I need to anticipate a possible quiet time without an income until new clients book in.
This could be the right career for you provided you are patient, skilled and dedicated.
If you can handle a fluctuating income, high overheads, no medical aid, pension or fringe benefits, and are willing to work hard at least six days a week training learner drivers in busy traffic without fear, you might be wise to follow this career.
If you believe passionately that the law must always be obeyed implicitly, and do so in your driving, yes, go ahead. If you can deal with difficult people at their most vulnerable, you might be wise to qualify as a driving Instructor.
I fancy picking up all the young girls who come for lessons.
Forget it! Driving Instructors who do not respect their clients 100% are criminals! You are not entitled to touch one of them!
No professional should dare to think seriously about this!
I inherited a driving school when my father died.
Great! Hopefully, he set you a good example and left you
with roadworthy vehicles and some capital to get started with legal driving Instructors. Be sure to qualify before starting
Check your motives - self-serving or being willing
So now that you have answered these questions, and still believe you should try to qualify as a driving Instructor, what comes next?
Go to your local DLTC (Drivers License Testing Centre) and ask to see the person in charge of driving Instructor matters. You will be given some forms:
Application to become a driving Instructor.
Check which order your DLTC wants you to do things in. Complete this form and hand it in. Pay R250.00.
See your family doctor and pay for the appointment. He will examine you and complete the form. Hand it in at the DLTC.
Fingerprint clearance request
Go to the Police station you are advised to see. Pay R40.00 and submit. The Police clearance can take a long time - as much as 14 or more weeks!
Some DLTC’s will require you to apply for a PrDP licence at the same time
This has recently become required since passengers are transported for a reward. Pay R240.00.
Keep copies of all documentation with stamps. After submitting the above-mentioned documentation, start preparing your vehicle by ensuring that it is roadworthy, safe, legally licensed, and have it fitted with dual pedals on the left side of the vehicle.
- Is the K53 standard sufficient? The K53 was introduced without training driving instructors first, which has led to a lack of understanding and correct application. Instructors learnt by the failures of their pupils, without understanding the defensive driving aspects of K53.
- What advice would I give to those who want to obtain a licence illegally? DON’T! You will be caught out sooner or later if not by the police, then in a situation on the road that you can’t handle due to a lack of training. For those who can’t afford driving lessons we have produced a K53 DVD - see the website: www.crvmedia.co.za. It will help you to understand the requirements, and help you to practise correctly with family and friends. The legislation is coming to the effect that every learner driver must produce a certificate of competency from his / her driving instructor. This draft Gazette is open for comments.
- What would I advise people to look out for in a good instructor? - If you want to select a safe driving instructor, you need to consider a few things:
- Does the instructor you are considering going to have an instructor’s certificate?
- Does the driving school vehicle have a dual control brake? While it is not compulsory, good instructors do go to the expense of fitting dual controls for your safety.
- Is it sign-marked?
- Is the instructor prepared to put the terms and conditions of his or her driving school in writing for you?
- Is he/ she prepared to offer you a receipt for any money you pay? If not don’t even consider paying them your hard-earned cash! We get reports constantly of people who have been defrauded by unscrupulous “Instructors.”
- When the instructor drives, do you feel safe? Does he/she obey the law? Is the vehicle clean and roadworthy and in a generally good condition?
- Is he or she polite and clean and respectful?
- Is the instructor honest and reliable? Does he/she refer to the official K53 manual? Does he or she offer you a copy of the K53 manual?
- Our organization, called SAIDI, standing for the Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors have a Code of Conduct and this can be read on our website: www.saidinational.org.
- Our members have agreed to operate under our Code of Conduct, which protects you and them.
- We invite all dedicated driving instructors who are sick of the corruption in our industry to join our organization.
- We offer comprehensive excellent instructor training too.
- Are all driving instructors SAIDI accredited? If not, why not? No. They are not. It is not compulsory to belong to an Association and SAIDI is the only Association which makes that a criterion of membership.
- “What percentage of instructors belongs to SAIDI?” - About 2%.
- Why? Because it is not compulsory to belong to any Association. Many instructors do not want anybody regulating them. Many have been able to be corrupt for years without being caught. SAIDI actively opposes corruption.
Criteria for membership:
- A fully-completed “SAIDI Application for Membership” form. See our website for a copy of this form on www.saidinational.org - Join
- A certified copy of your valid instructor’s certificate, as required per legislation.* (See relevant legislation and forms on our website)
- Website details form so that we can list you with our members.
- A recent photograph of your face.
- An up-to-date photograph of your vehicle / s with the SAIDI sticker displayed - preferably just behind the side mirrors.
- A certified copy of your identity book.
- A certified copy of your driving licence.
- The receipt for the payment indicated on the “SAIDI Application for Membership” form.
- A certified copy of your motor insurance plan.
Please email your fully completed documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
SAIDI Members receive a comprehensive list of benefits:
- SAIDI represents you and your concerns at Government and Provincial Government meetings.
- SAIDI writes to the National and Provincial authorities on your behalf. We persist until we get results although it may take time.
- SAIDI can assist members to train their clients to the highest standards, not only in South Africa but on an international level.
- SAIDI assists members to register their businesses legally with the Department of Trade and Industry at a low cost. They can register a defensive name or a company.
- SAIDI assists new instructors with guidelines as to how to become legally registered driving instructors.
- We assist with dual control contacts where available, although it is no longer compulsory to fit dual controls.
- Registered SAIDI members are offered with links as to where they can purchase the official written learners' licence material.
- SAIDI makes the official Gauteng computerized test training material available to everyone on our website at www.saidinational.org.
- SAIDI supplies members with a free accountancy programme on request to keep track of their expenditure and income, together with a link to download the SARS logbook.
- SAIDI is to supply all members with the official K53 manuals in a lovely file as from 23rd October 2014.
- SAIDI offers training modules for all SAIDI members - to be released at our AGM on 23 rd October 2014.
- All SAIDI members will be sent a lovely strong stainless steel key ring with our logo on.
- SAIDI members receive a membership certificate and two logos for their vehicles.
- SAIDI uploads all legal driving instructors onto our website at www.saidinational.org to advertise the services they provide in the area they work in.
- SAIDI members are on our mailing list and receive frequent emails keeping them informed of all activities in our industry as they take place.
- SAIDI has members in most Provinces, but we are keen to include all dedicated driving instructors all over South Africa on our website and mailing list.
- We do not believe in overcharging our members. Membership is kept to a minimum. Contact us for costs, please. We are more concerned with offering quality driving instruction across the country to curb the shocking road fatality rate officially at 14 000 per year, but an educated guess from a very experienced paramedic is nearer to 22 000.
- We respect the work our members do because driving instructors carry a very great responsibility as we take new drivers and train them in traffic. Since there is little respect for our profession, it is good to belong to the Association that understands your requirements and challenges.
- We offered members training as TETA accredited Assessors and Moderators and have been thrilled to see an all those Assessors trained this year declared “Competent.”
- We are members of Lexis Nexis and can send the latest laws to our members.
- We offer members free templates for quotations, invoices and receipts.
- We now include driving schools as members of SAIDI, for the first time in 37 years, so feel free to contact us, but we still require legal driving instructors to be registered as a criterion of membership.
- We are constantly working to improve our services to our members.
“To become a legally recognised driving instructor in South Africa, you must be registered with the provincial department of transport. Driving instructors are required to have a certificate specifying the grade or the class of vehicle in which they are qualified to instruct learners."
Instructors are graded as follows:
- Grade A
- The instructor is competent to train a person for a driving licence of any code and such instructor holds a code EC driving licence for a manual transmission and a code A driving licence.
- Grade B
- The instructor is competent to train a person for a driving licence of the code B, C1, C, EB, EC1 and EC, and such instructor holds a code EC driving licence for a manual transmission.
- Grade C
- The instructor is competent to train a person for a driving licence of the code A1, A and B, and such instructor holds a code EB driving licence for a manual transmission and a code A driving licence.
- Grade D
- The instructor is competent to train a person for a driving licence of the code B, and such instructor holds a code EB driving licence for a manual transmission; or
- Grade L
- The instructor is competent to train a person for a learner’s licence of any code.
To apply, go to any driving licence testing centre (DLTC) where you will be given a date to write a training test. If you pass the test, you will be given a certificate indicating the vehicle class or classes in which you are authorised to instruct learners.
You will deal only with the class of motor vehicles for which you are licensed. The instructor’s certificate is valid for one year.”
Difficulties facing driving instructors in South Africa:
- There is no official training to become a driving instructor in South Africa.
- SAIDI can fill that need. There is no finer training available in the country.
- We have plans for a top training centre for instructors with all sorts of additional benefits for instructors in all codes of vehicles all over the country.
- We are looking for sponsorship from the corporate world to make our dream come true!
- The process is long and complicated to qualify as a driving instructor in South Africa. SAIDI can assist with guiding you.
- The instructor’s certificate is valid for one year only, then the whole procedure starts again.
- SAIDI is appealing to the Government to extend this period and to make refresher courses compulsory.
- We struggle with a lack of services from our Driving Licence Testing Centre.
- It is extremely difficult to operate in the present system with long delays for learners licences, driving licence tests.
- We are experiencing problems such as collecting students and driving for a 100km round trip (or even much more), and when we reach the Driving Licence Testing Centres, the authorities have cut off the booking slots for the day moments before we arrive at 10:30 am due to the massive hordes of people queuing since the crack of dawn. We are then faced with the problem of charging or not charging for the service we provided. There is no way of predicting cut-off time, so the only solution is to queue from 6 am. We thought working an 11-hour day 6 or 7 days a week was pushing it, but now find we are expected to work daily for such long hours just to meet the need of the public to acquire a legal driving licence! Then we must spend hours working on administrative tasks all evening, leaving us with about three hours of sleep effectively due to the lack of services. This is hardly conducive to safe driving.
- Some clients are just not worth bothering with due to their unrealistic expectations.
- This is a perfect example of just how demanding parents can be: “Can I just confirm that you charge R550 for a learners licence which includes transport to book the test and the day of the test. Does the R550 include the test station fees of R108 and the R60 for passing? What if my daughter wants to do the drivers' learners licence and the motorbike learners licence at the same time?” That would entail 3 hours of driving and 12 hours of cancelled work. Why on Earth would anybody want to take that job, especially since we would have to get the client at 6 am and wait for hours in a queue, often without seating or shelter from the weather or bathroom facilities, only to be turned away without success? Such a client is very welcome to ask for the services of a fly-by-night instructor who might desert them when they most need them, after all, we do need to make a living while devoting ourselves to this career.
- So all round, this is not an easy career. We get little or no support from the authorities as we work to put safe legal drivers on the roads, despite the very worrying road fatality rate. So if you do decide to become a legal driving instructor, you will need to be truly dedicated.