31 August 2021
St Helena Police are currently conducting an education and awareness programme for the local community. Each week a different topic will be aired on local radio stations, issued via information releases and posted on Social Media.
This week’s topic is : Drivers Licences.
St Helena Police have been working with the Vehicle Inspector as well as the Post and Customer Services Centre to clarify the issuing of Drivers Licences.
Members of the public require a different class of vehicle licence to be permitted to drive a variety of vehicles on St Helena’s road network. The class of vehicles members of the public are entitled to drive are identified on their Drivers Licence which is issued annually at the Post and Customer Services Centre in Jamestown.
This has proven at times confusing surrounding the exact class and the weight of vehicles leading to, on occasions, members of the public obtaining Drivers Licences without having passed a requisite test for that particular vehicle type.
Section 22(1) of the Road Traffic Ordinance 1985, indicates that a driver must have passed a test in order to add a new class of vehicle to their Drivers Licence.
There is nothing to prevent someone who has previous experience of a similar class of vehicle going straight to a driving test in the new class but they cannot just have a vehicle class added to their Driv-ers Licence without having first passed a test.
There are many drivers on St Helena who have been driving a specific class of vehicle without knowledge of what that vehicle class actually is. For example a new driver passes a test on a class C licence vehicle and automatically but wrongly assumes that proves they can drive a class A and B class vehicle.
Unless Police have been provided with this information there could be times when the member of the public could be carrying out this act for many years thus committing an offence.
When this information is brought to Police attention it is reasonable for the driver to be given a test in order to legally prove they can drive safely that specific class of vehicle and thus be issued with the Drivers Licence to include that class of vehicle.
In order for the Vehicle Inspector to test the driver for the class licence in these circumstances, a valid provisional licence must be purchased from the Post and Customer Services Centre, however the six-week period for learning can be shortened.
This method protects the member of the public and the Vehicle Inspector from any subsequent liability and/or insurance claims.
There is no legislation or policy to support a new licence class being issued to any driver without them first having been tested for the specific class of vehicle.
31 August 2021