Driving License Not Declared Valid for Life
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Constitutional justices entering the courtroom to deliver decisions, including that on the judicial review of Law No. 22 of 2009 on Road Traffic and Land Transportation (LLAJ), Thursday (9/14/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ilham W.M.


JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court (MK) delivered a verdict to reject the judicial review petition of Law No. 22 of 2009 on Road Traffic and Land Transportation (LLAJ Law) filed by advocate Arifin Purwanto on Thursday, September 14, 2023. He challenged Article 85 paragraph (2) of the LLAJ Law on the validity of driving license (SIM). He requested that SIM be declared valid indefinitely, just as resident identity card (KTP).

Article 85 paragraph (2) of the LLAJ Law, which reads, “Driving License shall apply for 5 (five) years and be extendible.” The Petitioner believed the article was in violation of Article 27 paragraph (1), Article 28D paragraph (1), and Article 28I paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

“[The Court] adjudicated, rejects the Petitioner’s petition in its entirety,” said Chief Justice Anwar Usman alongside the other eight constitutional justices when delivering the verdict in Decision No. 42/PUU-XXI/2023.

Problem in Obtaining SIM

Arifin Purwanto, resident of Madiun, East Java Province, stated in the petition that the LLAJ Law stipulates that every driver of motorized vehicle have a SIM. However, getting it is not easy, especially taking the theoretical and practical exams, whose detailed results are not shown to exam-takers; they are only informed whether they pass the exams or not. The unclear parameter and legal basis for the theoretical and practical exams are then exploited by scalpers for financial gains.

The Petitioner asserted that to have sufficient knowledge on road traffic and land transportation, it would have been better that before exams, competent institutions provide relevant training. He also believed that the procedure/stages to obtain a SIM must follow current development and be made available on site and online.

KTP and SIM Validity Period

The Petitioner questioned why SIM was not made to be valid infinitely, just as KTP. One of the reasons for the five-year validity of a SIM is to find out the driver’s health and physical conditions. The Petitioner argued that if valid indefinitely, the way to check that would be an examination when the driver pays for his vehicle tax or according to his date of birth. The examination can be done online by the officer.

Based on Article 85 paragraph (2) of the LLAJ Law, a SIM is proof of the driver’s competence. This means that after a driver passes driving exams, the SIM should be valid indefinitely, similar to advocates, notary public, public accountants, curators, and other professions that require competence exam. The Petitioner revealed that in France, driving license is valid for life.

He also shared his experience applying for replacement of lost SIM and KTP. When applying for replacement of lost SIM, he had to undergo exams and pay for fees for which he believed there was no legal basis.

On the other hand, applying for replacement of lost KTP only required a copy of family card and a lost KTP report to be uploaded on the local Population and Civil Registry.

He added that in order to prevent SIM counterfeits or duplicates, the SIM serial number should be made the same as that of KTP or resident identification number (NIK) since the basis for the issuance of SIM is KTP. Thus, he argued, it would be apt that SIM be made to remain valid the same as KTP, i.e. indefinitely. That way, upon examination, if the SIM number deviates from the NIK on the KTP, officers would know that the SIM was counterfeit.

Along with technological advances, replacement of lost or damaged SIM or updated information could be done only by uploading the necessary documents the way KTP replacement is done at the local Population and Civil Registry. As such, replacement SIM can be processed online, without legally obscure requirements and procedure and free of charge, and be sent to the user’s address.

Difference Between KTP and SIM

In its legal opinion, the Court argued that electronic KTP and SIM are both identity documents, but have different functions. e-KTP is a mandatory population document, while SIM is a permit allowing one to drive a motorized vehicle and is not mandatory. Only those who drive motorized vehicles and meet the requirements following statutory legislation are required to have it.

Due to this difference, e-KTP is valid for life since its use does not require any evaluation of competence. Only information update or loss or damage requires one to make a report and apply for a replacement.

“In contrast, the use of SIM is highly dependent on the condition and competence of the person, which is closely related to traffic safety, thus needing evaluation for its issuance. Since those two documents have different functions and uses, it is impossible to equate them, including in terms of their validity,” said Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih delivering the Court’s legal opinion.

Health and Competence

The Court also held that the five-year validity of SIM was determined by legislatures since evaluation and monitoring phases on the physical and psychological conditions as well as skill or competence of drivers are needed, taking into account the sociocultural condition of society. So far, the five-year period is reasonable for such evaluation and monitoring on SIM owners. Based on logical reasoning, any change to the SIM owner’s physical and psychological conditions may impact their driving competence or skills.

The change may be to one’s eyesight, hearing, movement, cognition, psychomotor, and/or personality of the SIM owner, which could impact their ability to drive a motorized vehicle in traffic depending on the type of their SIM. In addition, within five years, there might be changes to their identity, such as name, face, address, and even fingerprint. This is in line with the condition of modern society, which is marked by high levels of social and geographical mobility, which could affect change on those aspects.

SIM renewal every five years is functional for updating the owner’s data in order to support tracing by law enforcement officers in the event of accident or crimes involving the SIM owner. In addition, evaluation during SIM renewal is necessary since five-yearly examination on the SIM owner’s physical and psychological conditions implies that the safety of the SIM owner and others on the road must be ensured. This is also an aspect that sets SIM and KTP apart in terms of validity period.

Therefore, the Court asserted, the Petitioner’s argument that SIM be declared valid for life the way KTP is was legally unjustifiable. Article 85 paragraph (2) of the LLAJ Law did not violate the principles of a rule of law, equality before the law and in government, as well as the right to recognition, guarantees, protection, and fair certainty, to be free from discriminatory treatment on any basis, and to protection against discriminatory treatment guaranteed in the 1945 Constitution. Thus, the Petitioner’s argument was legally unreasonable in its entirety.

Concurring Opinion

Constitutional Justice Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh had a concurring opinion in that he agreed with the majority opinion that the Petitioner’s petition was legally groundless, but he hoped that SIM be declared valid for life for elderly people.

“I share the opinion of the majority that the Petitioner’s petition was legally groundless but in the future, the legislatures should consider an affirmative action for elderly people to be given a driving license (SIM) for life,” he said.

Also read:

Petitioner Wishes STNKB, TNKB Be Valid Forever 

Petitioner Requests Driving License to Last for Life 

House, President Unprepared to Testify on Driving License Validity

Govt: Health and Driving Competency Must Be Evaluated 

Police: Driver’s License Validity Period Remains Relevant 

Petitioner’s Witnesses Recount Taking Driving License Exams 

Sociocultural Value of Driving License’s Validity 

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Andhini S.F.
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.


Thursday, September 14, 2023 | 17:46 WIB 96
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