You will have to score at least 60 per cent in the objective test to secure even the learner’s driving licence. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways intends to be that strict to plug loopholes that lead to issuance of driving licences without a proper theoretical and practical training of the applicant.
By addressing the entire driving licence system, the Ministry will be cracking the whip on illegal driving schools, the corruption prevailing at the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) which issue driving licences on being bribed , and hope that this measure would stem the increase in fatal road accidents.
Worried that as many as 1.42 lakh people died in road accidents in 2011 and drivers were responsible for more than 70 per cent of these fatalities, the Ministry is working to put an end to the issuance of licence on pecuniary considerations.
There are more than 1,000 RTOs in the country and more than 500 to 2000 people approach each of these centres for a learner’s licence daily, and about one crore are issued a licences annually.
Most applicants go for the short cut and pay up to Rs. 2000 to the touts to secure a licence, the legal fee for which in Delhi is Rs. 360. Thus, such a racket sees at least Rs. 2000 crore changing hands across the country annually. Officials here apprehend opposition to their initiative as various bureaucratic levels are also complicit in this.
Accepting the recommendation of a committee which looked into the entire gamut involving the driving licence system, the Ministry has decided to issue a notification making it mandatory for those applying for a learner’s licence to take a computer based objective test to test their knowledge of road sense and signs.
To help the rural people with minimal education, free booklets will be supplied free of cost as and when they apply for the learner’s licence and come prepared for the test. Those who fail can repeat the test about a week later, but scoring at least 60 per cent is a must.
Norms for the authorised driving schools will be made stricter by accrediting and ranking them on the basis of the number of trainers they have, the number and brands of car they have and the practical and theoretical knowledge they impart to the students.
The final objective test of driving skills will be electronically recorded by radio frequency identification devices , which would track how the candidate carried out the commands issued . The device will then issue a printed performance report.
But implementing all these norms will require at least two acres of space, infrastructure and finance and involvement of public-private partnerships . The old RTOs have the required space but there isn’t any in the heart of metros like Delhi and Mumbai. However, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have provided the infrastructure and space to the RTOs and are making use of it.