INTERVIEW Driving school in Romania, everything you need to know: from legislation, to costs and to the exam

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Since the start of the year, the 2022 Highway Code has been updated on several fronts. The new highway code is accompanied by even more painful penalties for those who are used to driving after having more or less drunk, but there are also particularities concerning the reconquest of the right to drive. Then you don’t need ten lessons to go to driving school, but we still wanted to know how difficult it is to get a driver’s license today, as well as information on the costs and the exam.

So I spoke to Răzvan Constantinescu, director of Convest Company, about all these aspects. Convest Company Driving School is the largest driving school in Brasov and was established in 1996. It provides theoretical and practical training for obtaining a driving license for all categories of vehicles, except for trams and trolley buses.

What position do you hold within Convest and what does the company do?

I’m a manager at Convest Company. The company runs driving schools and is a training and development center for road transport personnel. In short, we also carry out certificates for any type of driver.

How has the driving school in Romania changed over the last decade, from the tests that students have to pass to the peculiarities that they have to take into account during school? Is it easier or more complicated to get a driver’s license?

The procurement procedure has changed a lot. From now on, the theoretical exam takes place on a computer. Unlike the one on paper, the theory test, if we refer only to category B, is passed only with online programming. In addition, the practical test is filmed and in the car, during the exam, there is always a witness. The student is scheduled for the practical exam either in the first part of the day or in the second, which I say saves us time. That is to say that to pass the practical test, we know if we must be present in the morning at 8:30 am or at 1:00 pm.

In addition, the medical file, the psychological test and the criminal record are compulsory documents which are required before the start of the theoretical and especially practical test. The ARR (Romanian Road Authority) has imposed an application at the national level, called RNC (National Register of Students), through which absolutely all the theoretical and practical activity of each school in Romania is registered and supervised. Thus, from my point of view, the activity is much more transparent and efficient, even if there is still much to improve.

Are there any national or local statistics about driving school pass rates, so that we know how many of those who start driving school end up getting a license?

Yes, there are statistics at the departmental level, official statistics made by the DRPCIV of each department or statistics probably “taken” from the Permits Department, which can be found on various sites. The statistics refer to passing the first exam, although from experience I tell you: I don’t really trust them.

Editorial note: In 2020, of the 330,000 candidates who took the tests for the first time in all license categories (excluding those still scheduled on the course), only 34% passed both tests in the first place, according to the official data from Driving Permits and Vehicle Registration Regime Directorate (DRPCIV).

Is there a higher promotion rate for category B or A? What is the promotion rate compared to women-men?

The situations we have refer only to the total number of candidates examined and admitted. I would say that the highest pass rate is in categories A, C, CE, D and Tr (or, at least, that is the case in our school). When it comes to sex, it’s hard to say…maybe 50/50.

And if we were talking about motorcyclists, there is always the discussion of accidents between motorists and motorcyclists. Where does the scale tip the most when it comes to guilt?

From my point of view, the main cause was and remains speed, speed that if we transpose into category A, we are talking about exaggerated speeds, incredible strength, the feeling of power and freedom which, unfortunately, cannot give you no car. The bike, to which, if we add a little terrifying and the lack of experience of many, goes out, unfortunately, but let’s not forget that the pilots are also to blame.

The Romanian highway code seems to undergo more or less important changes every year. Is this a major stressor for instructors?

Not necessarily stressful, but there are things that we instructors want to change. Although we have various initiatives through the associations to which we belong, things are moving quite strongly, from this point of view and therefore, in our profession, we must adapt to move forward.

While I realize this varies from company to company or locality to locality, can you tell us what are the estimated costs that someone who wants to do a driving school can expect In Romania ?

Here, in terms of costs, I always had problems. But if we refer to the company that I run, I can tell you that for category B the tuition is minimal, because we have prices according to the type of car on which the practical training will be carried out, as well that the psychological test, the medical file, the rental of the car for the examination and the driving license fees, making a total price would be around 2500 lei. It may seem like a lot to some, but according to our calculations, considering the expenses and investments we have, the price is half of the real value.

For some time now, it has been possible in Romania to obtain a driving license from the age of 16. What are the particularities that a parent must take into account if he wants to let his child drive, which cars are they?

Yes, our school has such an electric car which can be driven from 16 years old and a motorbike which can also be driven from 16 years old. They are cars (I am referring here to category B 1) that have a dead weight of around 400 kg and a maximum power of 15 kw. From my point of view, there are no particularities, perhaps only the desire to empower the child, by giving him the possibility of going out on the public highway at 16 years old.

Statistics at European level place Romania as having the most dangerous roads, in terms of number of accidents and victims. On a personal level, what role does the national infrastructure and the training of drivers play in safety on the roads of the country?

Infrastructure plays, in my opinion, an important role, and driver training in road safety plays an even more important role. Here, unfortunately, we are faced with a series of problems which have been perpetuated and which are beyond us from a legal point of view. I believe that the legislator should come up with a series of new regulations strictly adhered to, so that the number of accidents and victims on the streets of our country will immediately and significantly decrease.

What do you think of the fluidity of traffic in large cities? What solutions could we find in this regard?

The traffic problem is unfortunately extremely “stressful”. Yes, there are solutions to make traffic more fluid and here I am again referring to “discipline” in traffic, to several one-way streets, to the use of public transport or even to the complete occupation of available places. in a car, to be used to its maximum carrying capacity (I am referring here to the fact that four people, instead of going to the same destination with four different cars, can only use one).

What do you think is the future of electric cars in Romania and how dangerous would self-driving cars be on our country’s roads?

The future of electric cars is already a concrete issue. Our driving school already has two 100% electric vehicles. It is clear that this is the direction of the future. As for the autonomous car, I personally think that we will “use” it in about ten years, that is to say faster than some people think.

The pandemic has come with challenges for everyone. What did it mean for your business?

For us, the pandemic has meant a long series of difficulties, difficulties that have generated effects that, unfortunately, we still feel, but we are confident in the medium and long term and we know that one day things will change again.


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