When the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced last week that it would begin releasing the new 10-year licenses last week, many rejoiced, some were skeptical, while others were outright against the idea. .
Of course, we all have our opinions, but spending a birthday – the date your license expires – at LTO isn’t exactly fun. On this I can speak from personal experience.
So when the LTO said you could do most license-related tasks online in preparation for your renewal, we thought we’d check. After creating an account on the LTO portal (portal.lto.gov.ph) by entering your license details, you can first check if you are really eligible; this means that you have no apprehensions or violations recorded in the LTO system. In the case of my license there is none, and this is reflected in the LTO portal.
We have confirmed this with the head of the LTO, Deputy Secretary Edgar Galvante, and this is indeed the case. If a motorist has not been cited by a traffic officer for any offense during the current license validity period, the motorist may be issued a 10-year licence. If there is a violation/demerit in the LTO system, the motorist will get a 5-year license.
A second. Galvante also clarified that demerits do not carry over from previous licenses; only offenses committed during the last license will be taken into account. So if you are renewing in 2021 and you had a speeding offense from 2010, this will not count as the license you currently have will have been issued in 2016 within the 5-year validity.
Once you have verified that you are eligible (as evidenced by the demerits section of your LTMS portal account), you will be required to pass a CDE or comprehensive driving test. Last week, we actually checked the LTMS portal and found no mention or drop-down menu that said CDE. The only thing we found was the online validation exam which was under the E-Learning tab.
When we opened it last week, the link appears to be the CDE as it gives you a series of multiple choice questions and starts by asking which license you are renewing (non-professional or professional). There were about 60 questions based on the counter in the top right, asking for a variety of driving rules regarding road safety, protocols, and more.
We did this test and found quite a few things that needed fixing. For example, even if you clicked on the option to renew the non-professional license, the OVE still asked questions as if you were applying for a professional driver’s license.
Personally, I don’t need to know what the first fine is for failing to present a CPC or deductible upon arrest, but OVE was asking if it was PHP 2000, PHP 3000, or PHP 5000. He even asked me what the MVUC rate is for a rental tricycle as well as the penalty for refusing to submit to random drug testing for SUV drivers.
There were also spelling issues like what to do when you overheat; the correct answer to the LTO questionnaire is to open the hood and have “poor” water on the engine. There were also contentious issues such as a vaguely worded reference to the controversial “last clear chance of avoidance” in traffic accidents.
However, it seems that the LTO has already fixed the problems and made significant improvements to the program. And they started with the name: the OVE has now been modified with the CDE. In fact, they now call it the CDE Online Validation Exam. This makes it much clearer what you are actually taking.
As I renew my license in a few months, I decided to take it. But what is unusual is the success rate: 50%. There are also a total of 25 odd questions. This means a minimum of 13 correct answers to cross the 50% mark. But still, 50% is a very low pass mark if you want safer drivers. In fact, I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever taken a class at school that only had a 50% passing grade. PE maybe?
One of the main improvements is that the LTO has solved the problem of asking non-professional drivers questions that are clearly intended for professional drivers. So there were no questions related to offenses for PUV drivers or whether or not to report to the police that as a truck driver you were being asked to load something that is not indicated on the manifest, but that you will be paid more if you do. The correct answer for the latter (under the previous test) was to just not load it and not necessarily report it to the PNP.
The questions are much better formatted compared to the OVE test I took last week; there is a marked improvement on the exam. There are questions about texting and driving and double yellow lines.
There are also very unpopular issues like the LTO asking what the MVUC is for as well as the need for a vehicle inspection, but no politician wants to touch the PMVIC issue given that the election is about 6 months away.
There are still some vestiges such as the reference to the “last clear chance” which seriously deserves to be corrected at the legislative level. I mean, if a driver acts like a dangerous idiot on the road and somehow crashes into you, you could also be held jointly liable because you weren’t able to steer clear or brake for the idiot . The “last clear chance” doctrine is something that needs to be fixed, and it needs to happen at the level of Republic law.
After about 10 minutes and without googling, I got my result: 92% or 23 out of 25 correct answers. 1 of my wrong answers was because I pressed the trackpad by mistake, and the other was what to do when an ambulance approaches from behind during traffic.
Upon completion of the CDE, you get a certificate showing Online Validation Exam which you can print out and bring with you when renewing your license. It will also be emailed to you by the LTMS portal.
Overall though, LTO really improved this test. There are some things that may need ironing out, but all things considered LTO moved quickly to improve it, and I look forward to getting my 10 year license when my DL runs out in 3 month.
But still, please raise the LTO pass mark. 75% minimum.