Driving test protests called off after truce between Kerala govt. and unions

Transport department decides to relax some of the provisions in the government circular issued as part of implementing the revised driving test format in the State

Updated - May 16, 2024 11:10 am IST

Published - May 15, 2024 08:29 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Members of The united form of Driving Schools stage a protestt before the Secearia against the new License testing reforms, in Thiruvananthapuram on May 13, 2024. File photo

Members of The united form of Driving Schools stage a protestt before the Secearia against the new License testing reforms, in Thiruvananthapuram on May 13, 2024. File photo | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Putting an end to the two-week-long stalemate between the Kerala government and driving school owners unions across the State, the Transport department has decided to relax some of the provisions in the government circular issued as part of implementing the revised driving test format in the State.

The decision was taken at a conciliatory meeting held between Transport Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar and the striking driving school unions on May 15 (Wednesday), paving the way for the withdrawal of the strike by the unions, who have been demanding the complete withdrawal of the revised test format.

As per the conciliatory efforts, the circular issued by the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) will not be withdrawn. However, necessary changes will be made in the circular to ensure that driving school authorities get sufficient time to switch to the new format.

As part of this, the department has decided to increase the age of test vehicles from 15 years to 18 years.

The decision to put a cap on the number of driving tests to be conducted under a motor vehicle inspector (MVI) to 40 per day will not be changed. However, in places where two MVIs can be deputed for the driving tests, 80 tests would be conducted per day, the Minister said.

Stressing the need to ensure the quality of driving licences, the Minister said that department would allow dual clutch and brake vehicles for driving tests until another system is put in place.

The dashboard cameras mandated for the driving test vehicles would be provided by the department. Alleviating the fears that those who passed the learning tests would lose their chance due to the strike, the Minister said the list of how many learners are left in each Regional Transport Offices and sub Regional Transport Offices will be checked.

The backlog in the driving tests would be cleared by deputing officers from the enforcement wing.

Further, the Minister assured that there was no need to worry that the learner’s licence would expire. After six months of its validity, it can be extended by paying a small fee, the Minister said.

He also said that a commission would be appointed to make uniform the driving learning fee charged across the State, and the commission would be directed to make available a report in three months. Similarly, road tests would be conducted only after the ‘H’ test on the ground.

The driving school owners’ unions have been protesting against the reforms suggested by the State government boycotting the driving tests across the State since May 1, leaving thousands of applicants in a fix. Following this, the department agreed to hold a discussion with the protesters.

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