Regulator to check motor driving schools

Govt plans to tighten screws, to prepare curriculum to bring down road accidents

To bring discipline among drivers and curb increasing road accidents, the Centre wants to tighten the screws on motor driving schools in the country. 

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is proposing to set up a national-level regulator to monitor the functioning of driving schools. Apart from preparing common curriculum to driving schools, the regulatory body will also monitor driving schools and their instructors as well as aspiring drivers. As per the plan, at the state level some premier driving schools will be set up to provide initial as well as refresher training to driving school instructors. The driving schools should hire only those instructors who got training from these institutions. Even existing instructors in the driving schools have to undergo training from these designated driving institutions. All driving schools should be registered with the regulatory body which in turn will give accreditation to such schools. 

Aspiring drivers have to take training at an accredited driving school only before applying for a driver’s licence. The regulatory body will maintain database of all driving schools and it will be interlinked to regional transport offices as well as police. The driving licence will have a bar code mentioning the school which trained the licence holder. In a road accident, if a driver is found guilty due to poor driving skills, the investigating authorities not only apprehend the guilty driver but also fine his/her driving school for lapse on its part. If more number of drivers were found with poor driving skills from a particular school, the regulatory body would cancel the accreditation of the school, said the official from the Ministry. 

The Ministry hopes to operationalise the regulator body by the end of the 12th five year plan ( 2012-2017). “This is the part of the Centre’s proposal to streamline the mushrooming driving schools,” A K Upadhaya, secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways told Deccan Herald.   As many as 1.42 lakh people died in road accidents in 2011. As poor driving skills were responsible for more than 50 per cent of these fatalities, the Ministry wanted to overhaul the issuance of licence, he said.   Currently, though the driving schools have to get registered with the state transport department, they are hardly monitored. 

The Maharashtra government has already implemented the accreditation to motor driving schools and imparting training to its instructors system. In Maharashtra, driving school instructors are being given five to six months short term training at the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) in Pune. Those who get training in CIRT are eligible for jobs in driving schools. 

The programme will include lectures on the traffic situation in the state, role of instructors, trainee management, vehicle knowledge, signs, signals and markings, defensive driving, the effects of alcohol, legislation, emergency situations and first-aid.

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