How is driving License Issuing related to road accidents?
17 deaths every hour, traffic accident mortality rate became much worse. As per the report released by the Union road transport and highways ministry, 55 roads accidents occurred every hour in 2016. 150,785 lost their lives in 2016 in road accidents only, that is more than the number of people killed in all our wars put together. The statistics reveal the ever-worsening picture of road transportation in India. The latent factor is the driving licensing policy implementation.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways spends hundreds of crores on ad campaigns. In 2017, Ministry sanctioned Rs. 2 lakhs per NGO for road safety awareness. The Ministry also asked states to identify blackspots on the highways and will sanction Rs. 11,000 crores over the course of 5 years to rectify them. E-challan and m-parivahan apps were launched to increase the awareness about road safety and traffic rules. These announcements were made during Road Safety Week -2017. The announcements talk a lot about the awareness among the citizens. The institute from where the awareness can spread in a district is its RTO. Except posters, and signs and symbols, no other method was found to increase the awareness by RTO.
The state with the highest recorded traffic accident mortality was UP. The condition of its one of the RTO – RTO Ghaziabad – is well described in the following observation.
I went to RTO Ghaziabad to get the driving license. First stage was to get a learners’ license. Just outside the office, there were ‘agents’, who had a unique vision, figured out my purpose, just by looking at me. One of them approached me and it was later followed by a swarm of ‘agents’ citing their lucrative offers and deals in order to lure and ‘help’ me in the process. I was adamant and stubborn. I politely refused their offers and resumed my journey to my goal. Out of nowhere, the most senior among the ‘agents’ shouted that I was wasting my time as this is the ‘socially-accepted’ procedure to get issued the license. I ignored his golden words. I filled the form. The form had a dedicated section for medical examination. Later found out that the medical examination was just a ‘paper Tiger’. I stood in various queues and spent hours to get to the final stage of online test. The queues lasted more than the expected as some of the officials were busy in reducing the extra workload provided by the ‘backstage guys’. At last, I reached the final stage of online test. As soon as I entered the room, I found last 2 boys just got failed and were asked to re-appear. I got nervous as I thought the test would be a difficult one. As the game of anticipations ended, I found the question to be very simple and require just basic understanding of signs and symbols and traffic rules. I cleared the exam and successfully completed the procedure for a learning license. The guys who failed the exam, were seen bargaining the ‘help’ from the agents and finally they reached the conclusion.
Driving Test at RTO Indore
After around two months, I again went to RTO Ghaziabad for converting my license status to permanent. Similar scenario of agents swarming like bees on newbies. After filling the form, bio-metric survey was done and finally reached the driving test stage. I was excited and curious to see where they will take the test as the roads were clogged with vehicles or every kind. They asked me if I had brought the car with me. I said that there must be cars in RTO on which they would test me. At least they might have a simulated car through which one can show cast his driving skills. They said, they neither had any such car nor any simulation to test driving skills. The candidate should bring his own vehicle. I said what about those people who don’t own one. He suggested to borrow one. As I had no choice, I returned back to my home. I went again next day with my car and eagerly waited for the test. The coordinator came and asked me to bring the car to the gate as the first task. I did. He said that I had passed the test and I could leave. I was puzzled but left.
This was the scenario of UP, the state where maximum casualties due to road accidents were reported. Agents everywhere. No short induction course on traffic rules by the authority. No fitness certificate asked. No vision or hearing tests. No place to conduct driving tests. No cars to conduct tests. In short, getting a license is less about driving and more about money. The more money you have, the more hassle-free procedure would be followed for you.
One of the popular ad run by the MoRTH suggests to have a regular checkup of eyes. Suppose, a person, who doesn’t have a good eyesight, go RTO for the license. Let’s assume that he doesn’t use the help of agents and go by all the procedures instructed by RTO officials. He would easily get the license as no fitness certificate is asked. Neither there is any doctor in RTO nor there is any test to catch his poor eyesight through driving test. Now, that person is certified to drive any non-commercial vehicle. Poor eyesight will definitely result in accident. In this accident, there may be innocent casualties, who might be following the traffic rules. So, whose fault resulted in their deaths? The license issuing policy and its implementation.
Practice for Parallel Parking – One of the tests to get driving license in the USA
Our driving license providing policy, on paper, is not much different than that of developed nations like the USA or Russia. The only difference is that the rules to award license are strictly followed and offices are inspected regularly. Another difference is that they put up a small awareness demonstration before taking the driving test so that the awareness could be enhanced. In the USA, there are various question banks to practice questions in order to crack the driving test. Our RTO hardly conducts any driving test to issue a driving license!
Source: Huffington post
A bad driver can take lives of several innocent humans. As the prevention is better than cure, we as a country should become responsible and leave the canopy of illusion of the ‘agents’. Ministry should inspect RTO more and sometimes, give a surprise check too. Rules and regulations are adequate but the implementation shows a lot of disparity. Awareness itself is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one.