When someone in Ukraine says that he paid for the rights, in response they may ask – “How much did it cost?” All because the process of obtaining a driver’s license has already turned into an old corruption legend – they say that it is impossible to pass the exams without a bribe, because the whole system is geared towards this. We are sure that this is not the case, so we have collected inspiring stories of people who got their rights honestly. Spoiler alert: it’s hard, but worth it! According to the results of a sociological survey for 2022 by Info Sapiens, service centers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are ranked third in the ranking of the prevalence of corruption. 26.7% of respondents reported that they encountered corruption there in various cases. In addition to issuing a driver’s license, the list also includes car registration, technical control, and receiving documents outside the queue. From August 1, 2023, changes to reduce corruption risks when obtaining a driver’s license entered into force. Prospective drivers now have multiple attempts to pass the practical test over a period of two years, instead of three attempts, as was the case previously. Read also: How to get a driver’s license: what has changed in the rules for taking theoretical and practical exams What prevents you from passing them honestly? Difficulties usually start during the practical exam. Previously, there were only three attempts at it – and before each of them applicants for a certificate, in particular in large cities, went through the circles of hell in order to “take a ticket” for the exam itself. Future drivers are nervous, and inspectors pick up mistakes or even provoke them to violate traffic rules. It is offered secretly or directly to put money “in the black box” in order not to waste time and avoid unnecessary questions on the exam – passed and forgotten. Even without hints, every license applicant knows that such an option is present. Moreover, the network is full of numerous offers to buy a driver’s license. Screenshots from OLX and Google search results How did those who were able to pass honestly pass this way? Are you determined not to pay for the license? We are proud of you! And to inspire success, we asked about the experience of those people who honestly won their rights, having only three attempts under the old rules. They were able – so you can too! The first story is from Yulia Gurina, a copywriter and mother of two daughters. She received a driver’s license in Kyiv for 8 months and noted how personal experience changed her vision of the problem of corruption in this area: “I did an internship in one of the Kyiv SCs (service centers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – ed.), which I was told was the most progressive and the first SC without corruption. And even in the driving school, no one ever hinted at a bribe, although I heard about the opposite cases. That is why I was determined to do it honestly from the very beginning. I failed the first attempt already at the end of the route before the last intersection, which I very broken – I didn’t know that almost no one passes on the first try. And after that I realized that people buy rights not only because of irresponsibility, but also to save time, money and countless nerves that go into obtaining rights honestly “. Yuliya is happy immediately after the successful third attempt of the practical test. After the second unsuccessful attempt, Yuliya decided to gain even more practical driving experience and move on. There was a second attempt ahead: “I thought I was a confident driver, and after my second test ended without even starting (the inspector picked up on primitive mistakes, “brought to the mirrors” as they call it), I felt that I’m a 10. After such a depressing experience, I was sure that 3, 5, 10 extra hours of preparation wouldn’t help me. At that time, I was a millimeter away from buying the rights, but my friend advised me to give it one last try anyway and just have fun. I went, although I kept this disgusting idea in my head about buying a license. And the instructor told me that on the third try the inspectors will be ready to turn a blind eye to something. The main thing is not to make obvious gross mistakes. The inspectors are loyal and can remain silent about the mistakes you’ll make out of carelessness or just nerves. This actually happened to me on all three attempts, but luck still plays a huge role. That is, which instructor, route or car you end up with.” In the end, the third attempt was successful, and Julia received a certificate, in which she invested much more resources than she expected. Other people also say that studying and taking exams took longer than expected. For the manager Yulia Pimenova, who traveled to Lviv, it took 5 months from driving school classes to obtaining a license. This is how she motivated herself before the last chance to pass the practice: “I did not expect that this journey would be so long, and the instructor said before the exam that I already knew everything. I did not really want to go to a repeat course at a driving school – and this that thought, which also helped to put aside the anxiety before my last attempt to pass the practice. The third time I passed the route without mistakes, so I am satisfied with my result, even though I waited in line for 5 hours.” The communicator, Kateryna Rusina, carefully studied the reviews and chose such a driving school, in which it would be the norm to pass honestly – so no one hinted at a bribe either. After one of the attempts at the practical exam, she decided to challenge the results: “I think the inspector behaved unprofessionally, provoked an emergency situation and made unnecessary mistakes. I don’t know if he wanted a bribe or just had a bad mood, but I took a video recording of the exam and wrote a 7-page complaint with with detailed explanations. The board satisfied my complaint, removed the unnecessary mistakes and canceled that exam attempt. The next time the invigilator happened to be the same again, and I doubted whether I should even start the exam. But the instructor always told me that it should not matter with whom and which route to drive, so I decided to pass and in case of problems, appeal again. In the end – 3 mistakes, and I passed the exam.” Kateryna advises not to save too much on training, because a driver’s life will depend on his skills. In her opinion, it will be cheaper to pay for additional classes. He advises others not to be silent about possible rights violations: “Look for an instructor who will really teach you. Understand how the exams should be conducted, according to what rules – so you can defend your rights if something goes wrong. Yes, an appeal is your time, effort, nerves. But if you feel that you are ready – fight, it will not only be a step towards your driver’s license, but also a contribution to changing the system.” Yuliya Pimenova also agrees that it is necessary to go to the end. She says that she did not pay a bribe as a matter of principle: “This path took a lot of resources from me. I was very worried because I understood the responsibility for my life and those around me. Financially it is also expensive, but I think the rights are worth the money. It was for me, it is a principle, because corruption in our country is still, unfortunately, very widespread. We must start from ourselves.” These amazing stories are just the tip of the iceberg of positive experiences of those who have been able to. You can get more motivation and useful advice in the open group “Rights without bribes” on Facebook, where hundreds of other drivers and those who are just getting ready to get behind the wheel share their unique stories. How to honestly get rights? People who have already passed all the exams have a different experience – some had quite a positive experience, while others can remember the journey with dizziness. Therefore, we have highlighted the following tips for successful preparation for the exams: carefully choose the driving school and the instructor with whom you will drive. If at the very beginning they do not believe in your intentions to graduate without corruption, or even more so hint at bribery, change the educational institution. It is important that the instructor supports you, and not “beats” you; take a lot of tests. This will help you automatically learn the rules of the traffic rules and make up the theory on the first try; do not skimp on practical classes with an instructor. The more skills and experience you gain, the better you will show yourself in stressful conditions already on the exam. Additional classes are not cheap, but they are an investment in your driving professionalism, not in a corruption piggy bank; know your rights. All information about taking exams is in the official Instructions. Knowing the important norms from the rules, you will be able to feel confident in case of potential problems; try to stay calm. As obvious as it sounds, stress is your enemy in the exam. Therefore, you can perform special exercises or ask for the support of loved ones. It is not recommended to take sedative drugs – it can slow down your reaction on the road; do not delay taking the practical exam. If you never got behind the wheel before driving school, your skills will be quickly forgotten over time. Try to take the exam at about the same time as the group or find a good coupon at the service center. If you believe that the driving school or service center does not give you the opportunity to honestly acquire driving skills and underestimates the test results, you can write a complaint. Contact the management of the driving school or regional service center where you took the test. It will take more time and resources, but if you keep quiet about the problems, no one will notice them. Are you being offered a bribe for successfully passing an exam? Report this to the law enforcement authorities (police) – they will guide you on further actions. We warn you against hidden filming, because as a general rule, the law prohibits it. In order to document the fact of extorting a bribe, you must coordinate it with the law enforcement officers. Corruption whistleblowers can also report such cases through the channels of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Main Service Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Yevgeny Zolotukhin, communications manager of Transparency International Ukraine, specially for UP. Life Publications in the “View” section are not editorial articles and reflect exclusively the author’s point of view.
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