Driving license no more child's play

Last Updated 15 October 2013, 16:58 IST

Once the easiest thing to do in the City has been made tougher now by authorities. The exam for driving licence that was once considered to be bayen haath ka khel and cleared with ‘eyes closed’ is not the same anymore. The transport department has now made it mandatory for motor vehicle inspectors to actually sit in the vehicles during the test.

Since the new rules were enforced early last month, the number of private driving licences issued by the department has come down to almost half i.e. 50 per cent – from 35, 000 in a month till July, the number of licences issued by regional transport offices (RTO) was only 19, 517 in September!

But wasn’t this rule there before? An official from the Delhi Transport Department who is respo­n­sible for issuing driving licences talks about their latest step as a positive change. “We are welcoming very limited number of applicants in a day now, which was not the case before and this has resulted in the decreasing number of licence issuing now. These are more of quality tests than quantity tests. And now we have made sure that an MLO (motor licensing officer) will sit with the driver and ensure that the driving test is conducted properly.”

“Whenever the workload is reduced, people tend to focus on their work more and same goes with the officers. With decreasing number of applicants, these officers are getting more time to conduct tests and test driving skills. This step will reduce reckless driving on roads and hence less accidents,” adds the officer.

While Delhi Motor Vehicle rules have always said that officers must sit in the vehicle during the test, the general practice has been that the officers only conduct a visual inspection with the test being undertaken as a formality. On asking him why this strictness was not there before, the officer went on ‘no-comments mode’ saying it is his new job so he doesn’t know anything about the past of the department and how they worked.

But this step has reduced driving licensing in a big way. At the Sheikh Serai RTO, 5,769 licences were issued in the month of July, whereas 2,010 licences were issued from August 21-September 23. In Vasant Vihar RTO only 639 licences were issued as compared to 1, 305 issued in July and in Indraprastha only 193 were issued as compared
to 631.

If on one hand the department is patting itself for improving their work, people who already have licences are a relieved lot. Parul Suneja, a resident of Delhi shares her experience. “I never gave any driving test. The person from the learning school got my licence made and it was quite easy. No hassles at all. I just submitted the necessary papers and it was done.”

Arindam Joy, another Delhiite made a shocking revelation about how he got his licence. “First of all, there were no officers who sat with me for the test and secondly, I had gone there to get a licence for four-wheelers but as a matter of joke I also applied for a two-wheeler. To my surprise I have licence for both without having given a test for either and without even having a two-wheeler! But now with the rules becoming stricter, people will face trouble getting licences.”

(Published 15 October 2013, 16:49 IST)

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