Twice as many people take driving exam with automatic transmission
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    Twice as many people take driving exam with automatic transmission

    The number remains relatively low. Credit: Pexels

    The number of driving exams for a licence for a car with automatic transmission has doubled, from 3,120 in 2015 to 6,262 in 2019, according to figures from Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister for Mobility.

    Despite the doubling in absolute numbers, people taking an exam for an automatic transmission licence only represent 4% of the total number of exams, according to the Belga press agency.

    4 out of 10 new cars bought in Flanders have an automatic gearshift, but the proportion of driving tests with automatic switching remains limited.

    “Although, in the interests of road safety and the environment, we still need to evolve towards automatically switched cars, these figures show that a driving test is hardly ever taken with such a car,” said MP Lode Ceyssens, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “The reason for this is that anyone taking an exam today with the car of the future will have a restriction on their driving licence,” he added.

    Those who pass their driving exams with an automatic car will get a ‘code 78’ on their license, meaning that the license is only valid for vehicles with an automatic transmission.

    What is needed is “a change in mindset” concerning driving around in a car with an automatic transmission, according to Ceyssens. Automatic cars are safer, more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly, he said.

    “By imposing automatic driving as a restriction today, prospective drivers say that, just to be sure, they need to have a driving licence for a manual car,” said Ceyssens.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times