China May Allow New Drivers to Take Tests Without Formal Lessons

China may stop requiring motorists enroll in driver’s education classes before they can take a license test, as the government seeks to make the qualification process more transparent.

The government is looking to streamline the licensing process and may grant “the long-awaited wish for independent learning and testing,” the public security ministry said in statements on its website and microblog yesterday, without giving more details.

Making it easier to get a driver’s license may further spur car sales in China, already the world’s largest auto market. About 23 million vehicles will be sold in the country this year, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

China currently requires people to enroll in driving classes before they’re allowed to take the license test. Lessons can cost about 9,000 yuan ($1,500), according to posts on the website of Shanghai Public Driver Training Web.

The public security ministry said it will seek public feedback on the proposed changes and didn’t say when any new rules might take effect. China ranks 120th in the world in road safety, with an estimated 283,000 people dying in road-traffic deaths in 2010, according to the World Bank.

Earlier this year, China exempted newer passenger vehicles from inspection for six years, and allowed the sale of spare parts directly to consumers and non-authorized dealers.

— With assistance by Alexandra Ho

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