Trade association BOVAG, along with fellow organizations, is calling on the Lower House to impose stricter requirements on starting driving schools, impose tougher penalties and promote transparency. In recent years, it appeared to be a coming and going of so-called entrepreneurs who have no clue about running a driving school.
The BOVAG department of driving schools represents approximately 1,000 driving school owners, each of whom must confirm to the general conditions drawn up in cooperation with the ANWB and Consumentenbond. For example, there is a formal mediation procedure, a disputes committee and a guarantee fund that compensates consumers in the event of the unexpected bankruptcy of a member driving school. The 1,000 BOVAG driving schools account for about half of all CBR exams. The vast majority of the remaining 7,000 driving schools in Netherlands are not unionized, and consumers have nowhere to turn to with them except through legal means.
Tom Huyskens, BOVAG spokesman: “It is child’s play to start a driving school. However, a qualified instructor does not make a good entrepreneur. Without any knowledge of entrepreneurship, many are gone within a short time. We believe that an instructor should first gain experience in paid employment and only after a test of entrepreneurial skills should he or she be allowed to start a driving school. In the cab industry, for example, an entrepreneur must also first obtain a diploma. But consumers themselves can also contribute to further professionalization, simply by casting their vote. The website Rijschoolgegevens.nl now only lists success rates, but if every student can rate a driving school online, you really get a good insight into the quality. The hospitality industry is no different these days. This way, the wheat is separated from the chaff. BOVAG members already use a similar system en masse and it’s called Klanten Vertellen. Nothing cleanses better than the judgment of the customer.”
“In addition, it should be mandatory for all driving instructors to attach their WRM certification badge to the dashboard of the lesson car so that the student can see at a glance whether the instructor is qualified to give driving lessons. In practice, it is too common for non-certified instructors to give driving lessons and for the student not to notice anything at all. A cab driver is also required to attach his driver’s badge on the dashboard, but with driving lessons we are talking about mostly young customers, it involves a lot of money and moreover it is about road safety.”