Driving on a bumpy road

Driving on a bumpy road

When it comes to obtaining the Learner’s Licence (LL), the hurdles are too many for the City’s applicants.

The test, that is so crucial, is taken too lightly by the authorities concerned. Students of driving schools get their Learner’s Licence (LL) test just after giving their oral and hand signal test.

But for those who go by the standard procedure (on their own), there is a written test involved, in which the applicant has to score at least 10/15.

This might come as a shock to a lot of people who have already got their licence the easy way. In fact, many don’t even know that others have to pass a test which comprises questions like ‘If two vehicles are on the opposite sides of a bridge, which has the right of way?’

For someone, who has just started learning driving and is trying to get comfortable behind the wheel, it would not be the most obvious answer to say, ‘Whoever switches on the headlight first’.”

Twenty-year-old Ayesha Sruti failed her learner’s written test twice before she actually got it. “I applied on my own without a driving school to back me up. When I failed both times, I took an oral test, which wasn’t even a proper test. We waited in a queue and then, everyone was herded into a room with an officer sitting in the middle.

He randomly picked people and asked questions. If they answered correctly, they went back in line. If they didn’t, he took their applications and later said that everyone would pass,” shares Ayesha.

However, the ‘truth’ is that applicants, who have passed SSLC, are given a multiple choice written test, while others are given the simpler oral test. “When people come through driving schools, a check about their education is already done as the applicant is asked to submit certificates before being enrolled. These driving schools give us a monthly report and periodically, we also conduct inspections to keep malpractices under check,” says M P Omkareshwari, regional transport officer, north zone.

She says that she is unhappy with how the Indian licence is looked down upon in the global arena thanks to the poor mechanism involved in attaining it. “I feel that our LL test fee is too nominal at Rs 30. If it’s higher, the public will at least feel the pinch if they fail and take it more seriously,” she adds.

 Whether this is the truth or not, the fact remains that too many people are failing the test. “I’ve taken the LL written test thrice and they failed me every time. They fail you intentionally and expect you to give up and come with a driving school chap, who will give them a bribe. It’s a known fact that they pass people who go via driving schools. It’s all set up!” claims Shraddha Srinath.

There is yet another complication in this problem — road safety. “The written test is hard but it forces you to learn more about the rules of the road. My main grouse is the tedious and bureaucratic nature of the whole process which forces people to take the easy way by using agents or driving schools. Using money power allows bad drivers to make it to the roads, which in turn endangers the lives of the people,” says Rohit Hedge, an angry Bangalorean.

“Unfortunately, this is an area of governance which everyone knows about and does nothing about,” he adds. The process of obtaining a learner’s licence needs to be simplified and made transparent.

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