Make Driving License Issue Process far more strict

 

Dated: 13th April 2012

 

RTO, Pune 

RTO, Pimpri Chinchwad

Joint Transport Commissioner, Motor Vehicles Department, Maharashtra State

Honorable Home Minister, Government of Maharashtra

 

CC: 

DCP, Traffic, Pune

Commissioner of Police, Pune

 

Subject: Appeal for making the process of issuing driving licenses far more strict to significantly improve safety on roads.

 

Dear Sirs,

 

It is always heartening to hear from governing officers related to traffic as well as ministers, during the Safety fortnight, that ‘Safety will be our main priority’. 

Save Pune Traffic Movement (SPTM) is a force of thousands of responsible citizens who follow traffic rules by choice. We have identified ‘Safety’ as our main focus area for this year and have launched a city wide campaign called ‘Save 100 lives!’ which aims at reducing the number of fatalities in a year significantly (at least by 100) through a series of planned actions. It is good to note that PMC as well as Pune Traffic Police are participating in this campaign.

It is very well known that the process of issuing driving licenses is extremely liberal and nobody fails the tests conducted by RTO to obtain a learning and permanent driving license. It is also seen that all the driving schools only teach very basic skills of moving the vehicle and NOT a proper way of safe and defensive driving. Main reason for this is that, the tests conducted RTO do not need and check such knowledge and skills. As a result, every day RTO gives licenses and adds hundreds of people, to the traffic, many of whom have poor knowledge about traffic rules and potentially dangerous driving habits.

It is obvious that many accidents can be avoided if the process of issuing driving licenses is made far stricter. One common excuse given for not doing this is that there is a huge load of applicants. However, nobody should disagree that the Safety of people on roads is far more important. Government should add the resources to RTO to ensure this. However, RTO should have no obligation to clear the applications by diluting the process. So, on behalf of thousands of responsible citizens of Pune, SPTM demands that RTO should take up a mission: “Only a person with proper knowledge about traffic rules and skills to drive a vehicle safely will get a driving license from RTO” and lives that mission from now on. 

It is worth mentioning following important relevant points in this regard:

We praise the traffic discipline of countries where the fatalities due to road accidents are very low.  We would like to bring it to your notice that the rate of passing a driving test in the first attempt there is only about 40-50%.

We came to know recently that Italy introduced a rigorous points-based system for driving test in 2003 and that resulted in downward trend in the road fatalities. 

All this shows that RTO must introduce a rigorous process for issuing driving licenses. We recommend following steps:

RTO should clearly specify a syllabus about the knowledge that a person must have as well as skills of safe driving practices which a person must acquire to get a license. At present this is very ad hoc. (Motor Vehicle Act cannot be the syllabus.)

Computer based knowledge test should be made much more rigorous. At present, it is ridiculously simple. 

The test for issuing permanent driving license should be made systematic and uniform using a points based template. There should be some points which a person must know / do properly. Failure on any such critical points should be considered a failure. Out of the other points, a person must be able to score a certain minimum points to pass the test. SPTM is ready to offer its services to RTO to develop this system. 

We hope, RTO/RTA and Government of Maharashtra takes the initiative and lead to create a model for RTOs in rest of India, while contributing significantly to safety on roads.

 

Warm regards,

 

Rajendra Sidhaye

Save Pune Traffic Movement