Getting your driving licence in Australia is a painstaking process compared to years gone by. It can take up to four years before receiving a fully unrestricted licence in some states, after hundreds of hours of supervised training and numerous tests.
The process is different all over the world. In some countries it’s so easy to pass the driving test because there literally isn’t one. Yes, in Mexico if you want to drive a car all you have to do is pay for the licence. While in Australia it might seem as though you have to jump through fiery hoops just to receive your full licence.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the easiest, and toughest, driving licence tests around the world.
Mexico City traffic. Photo: New York Times
There isn’t even an official age requirement in some jurisdictions in Mexico. You are able to apply for a minor’s permit at the age of 16 but most people aren’t eligible for a Type A licence until they turn 18. Instead of seeing the driving test as a way of certifying people to drive, most states in Mexico view it as more of regulating drivers. There is some formal processing though as each driver has to sign a legally binding document stating that yes in fact they can drive.
Fun Fact: Mexico City alone has 21 million residents and has such poor air quality that the Mexican government recently started encouraging people to not drive their car at least one day a week.
While you can’t drive a car until the age of 18 in Denmark, you can ride a moped at 16. Oh, or drive a tractor. The testing process itself is fairly extensive; After a set number of required hours in a classroom, a simulated exam to test the driver’s ability to handle icy roads and a driving course. All that before you are able to actually start on-road hours which has to be supervised by a specially qualified instructor. Sounds like a bit of an effort doesn’t it? It also happens to be quite expensive as well – from application to licence it costs DKK10,000 which is about $2,000.
Fun Fact: Before 2013, a Dane’s licence was valid until the day they turned 70. After their 70th birthday every two years they would have to pass a series of tests.
Japan has a similar licensing system to the ACT since they give drivers two options for fulfilling the practical exam. One option is to choose for a designated driving school, with the benefit being that they don’t have to pass a practical test. The other choice is to go with a driving school not associated with the government and have to pass both a theory and practical exam. The driving test itself is conducted on a closed-off driving course where they have to go through real life obstacles.
Fun Fact: If a foreigner wants to obtain a Japanese licence they will have to be willing to fork out over $7,000
The driving practical test might not be that difficult but the health examination certainly is. In particular, the South Korean government take someone’s eye sight into serious consideration. In order to receive a general licence a person’s visual acuity has to be at least 0.8 but if you are after a Level 2 licence you only need to have a visual acuity of 0.6. The written examination consists of 40 questions and in order to pass a score of 60/100 is needed. Once the theory aspect is take care of, a practical test of 300 meters (yep, that’s it) needs to be passed before anyone can be awarded a probationary licence. That’s not it though, as South Koreans still have to endure a six-hour theory lesson followed by another practical test.
Fun Fact: You fail the driving test if you don’t keep your seat belt on for the entire test. It might seem obvious but it’s one of the few things that drivers can be failed for.
Brazil takes licensing very seriously. Not only will a driver have to wait until their 18th birthday to apply for a licence but they will then have to undergo a psychological examination, medical tests and be schooled in traffic laws and driving theory for 45 hours. After that they will have to complete 20 hours of practical driving with a certified instructor.
Once all that has been successfully completed, the driver will be given a one-year probationary licence and if during that time there are infractions the licence will be revoked, not just suspended.
Fun fact: Once a Brazilian receives their full licence they can’t receive more than 20 demerit points in one year before they face suspension.
While other countries might be a little stricter on the theory component of driving tests, Australia is known for having a lot of required driving hours which some might say is more important.
What do you think is more useful when it comes to teaching people to become safe drivers? Tell us in the comments below.