Registering your vehicle
You’ve bought your first car, but can you drive it yet? - At least not officially - in a straightforward sense - that you don’t own the right to drive your car before completing the registration process. After all, rules need to be followed.
So get it registered, before it becomes a liability. Transport laws require you to register your car within 15 days since you’ve bought it. First off, have a friend drive your car with you to the office of the Road Safety and Transport Authority. Transport officials keep records of your car identification number (Each car has its own engine and chassis number).
After you provide details of yourself and the car, transport officials will issue you a Registration certificate, which is commonly referred to as Blue Book, which in itself is a misnomer, because the small booklet (which contains information about you and your car) is actually green.
Once you are issued the registration certificate, you car needs to be physically verified to check if its road worthy. This is done to ensure you car is good enough to be driven and does not pose risks to yourself and others while on the road. Once verified, you will receive a roadworthiness certificate.
The next step is to get your car’s emission tested, but when it comes to new cars; it is usually required after one year. Car emissions are tested in private emission testing centers such as the Yangki Automobile in Thimphu.
Once you have registered your vehicle, you still do not qualify to drive your car on the road. So it’s important to get a Learners license, which is the first step towards getting the most important document for you and your car - the License to drive.
Make sure you are above 17 years of age while applying for your learner’s license. Once you have your learner’s license, you can sit for a license test after six months. But before that, get a refresher course certificate from a driving institute. There are four private driving institutes in Thimphu, Gangjung, Karma, USD and Kezang driving institutes.
With the certificate, visit the RSTA office to fix a date for your test. The test is divided into 3 aspects: a one hour theory exam held inside the RSTA office, a practical test inside the 5 PT box and a highway test to gauge your competency in terms of uphill climbing, gear changing, and using vehicle signals.
Once you have passed all three tests, the RSTA will issue you a license in 3 days after which you are officially allowed to drive your car, without breaching any rules.
While on the road, make sure you have the following four valid documents in your car: your License, your Registration certificate (Blue Book), Insurance and Emission test. You could be fined, if you don’t have any one of these.