Private driving instructors’ age limit to be raised

Driving instructors in Singapore will be able to teach up to the age of 75, instead of the current limit of 70.

The Singapore Police Force announced yesterday that it would raise it from Jan 1.

“With this revision, driving instructors who are 70 years old and older can continue to conduct driving lessons until they turn 75 years old, if they pass their annual enhanced medical examination,” the police said in a statement.

The check-up will include an assessment of the person’s cognitive ability to drive a motor vehicle, and also diagnose lower spinal medical conditions, which could make it unsafe to drive.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said that over the years, his ministry has heard from driving instructors, the Singapore Driving Instructors’ Association and some MPs that many instructors wish to continue teaching beyond the age limit of 70, if they are still fit and healthy.

Mr Lee said the age revision “will allow qualified and experienced instructors who teach privately or in driving schools to continue teaching and imparting good and safe driving skills to learner drivers if they are mentally alert and in good health.”

Singapore Safety Driving Centre operations manager Gerard Pereira said about five or six instructors there are due to turn 70 in two to three years. The school has 193 instructors and it is hard to find fresh blood, as the job requires shift and weekend work.

Private driving instructor Gordon Thia, 61, who has been teaching since 1980, sees up to nine students a day. He plans to teach up to 75. “If I’m healthy and if students need my service, I’ll teach, perhaps at a more relaxed pace” he said .