MDS to promote safe driving in India

MDS to promote safe driving in India

In a bid to promote safe driving through quality education imparted via special sessions for behavioural training, road sense, right driving technique and etiquettes, the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) introduced Maruti Driving School (MDS) in 2005 via  Bimal Auto Agency.

However, the company’s efforts in training dates back to 2000 when MSI set up the first Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) in association with Delhi government.

In an interaction with DH, Maruti Suzuki India Senior Advisor Driving Training Mahesh Rajoria said, “Driving training is an important area of intervention for Maruti Suzuki. MDS are neighbourhood driving schools set up in partnership with Maruti Suzuki’s dealer partners. Over the years we have gained extensive experience and recognition in the area of quality driving training through our MDS.”

Huge network
At present, over 375 MDS in 182 cities are operational across the country. Training covers topics such as basic road signs, road markings, rules of the road, manoeuvring, parking etc, which are essential for safe driving. These are designed to inculcate good driving behaviour and sensitise individuals on safe driving habits. MDS’ primarily focus on teaching personal car driving. Every year over 1.5 lakh people are trained from the MDS facilities.

The company has well structured the training programme schedule (see chart).
Rajoria explained, “Maruti offers customised training modules that suites learning requirements of a learner to an experienced driver.

Maruti Driving Schools have 4 elements of training: Learners Course, Advance Course 1, Advance Course 2, Refresher Course and Defensive Driving Course. All courses include theory, simulator and practical.”

“Whether it is a beginner who needs comprehensive training from the scratch or if someone needs a refresher course to gain confidence or one needs to enhance knowledge related to road safety, driving and traffic MDS has a training module to address all,” Rajoria added.

Guidelines
“All courses offered by MDS are scientifically designed and meet the guidelines defined in Central Motor Vehicle Rule – 1989 (CMVR). The rule specifies theoretical as well as practical training starting from basic introduction to automobile functioning, working of engines, manoeuvres (merging and diverging manoeuvres) to reversing (speed control, steering in reverse gear, weaving the ‘S’ bend) and parking (parallel, angular, perpendicular, parking facing uphill and downhill). We follow a 21-day schedule of training that includes 10 hours of practical training,” Rajoria said.

“Theory/class room sessions focus on imparting knowledge on basic vehicle functioning, road rules, traffic signs, traffic laws that are essential for safe driving.

All MDS are equipped with simulators, making driving training extremely safe and easy. Untrained drivers  are trained in driving techniques, skills and speed-of response under safe conditions. Practical training in vehicles that are customised for training are used. These are equipped with dual control kits,” Rajoria added.

To promote women to learn driving, the company claims that over 50% of those enrolled at MDS are women. Queen of road – a special promotional programme targeted towards women is observed during the month of March which begins on March 5.

Bimal Auto Agency CEO Naveen Kumar Sarawgi said, “We have worked with NGO’s like FICCI FLO and women centered companies like Taxshe in training their candidates (female trainees) for longer duration with less cost. Periodically, there are special offers/schemes announced for women trainees which give up to 25% discount on the course fees. For example, Queen of the Road, Women’s Day offer.”
Humongous challenges

Running a mammoth driving school is not an easy task for the MSI. There are humongous challenges faced. Rajoria said, “Over 1.3 crore licenses are issued annually. Of this, around 1.5 lakh people get trained in our network of MDS. We do not know where the rest would go for driving. Lack of strict laws and easy ways of getting driving license does not make it necessary for people to enrol for driving training.”

“We have the right infrastructure and are expanding as well but very few people see the importance of driving training from a good quality driving school. There should be enough awareness created among people to take up driving training seriously.

Especially when over 70% accidents take place due to driver fault,” Rajoria added.
“Another issue is finding the right trainer with the required skill set is a challenge. There is no formal training or certification for trainers and the low income of the trainers does not attract the right kind of talent pool,” Rajoria said.

On challenges from a dealer point of view, Bimal Auto Agency which has nine MDS in Bengaluru, Sarawgi said, “Vehicle damages during the training which we have been able to control and minimise this cost by providing periodical training to instructors and dedicated resource to improve vehicle condition and performance.”

“Till date, Bimal Auto Agency has successfully trai­ned over 1 lakh customers under various programs under various platforms. We are leading at the national level in term of number of trainees,” Sarawgi said.

Kalyani Motors began MDS in November 2011, has trained over 8,000 customers. On challenges, Kalyani Motors Chief General Manager Sales and Marketing S N Shetty said, “Most of the customers prefer learning in there own cars due to parking problems in apartments and uphill challenges. We do help them in there own cars for 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the course.”

Doorstep training
“When practical is a part of training so we have to be care full each time with customers safety, car safety, and other road users safety, but still we do have a dual controlled fixed cars and a well-trained instructors but its still a challenging job for our Instructors on Bengaluru roads,” Shetty added.

The Indian car market is evolving at a breakneck speed. Automatic and two pedal technology is fast catching Indian customer’s attention.

The training modules at MDS are evolving to keep up their relevance with the increasingly complex cars. MSI has begun to provide training in automatic technology as well along with manual transmission.
DH News Service

Learners Course
(i) Theoretical training – 7 hours (4 days)
(ii) Demo – 30 mins
(iii) Simulator training – 2.5 hours (5 sessions/ days)
(iv) On road Practicals
– 10 hours (10 days)
(v) Evaluation –
Theoretical – 60 mins
Practical – 30 mins

Advanced Course
(i) Theoretical training – 2 hours ( 1 day)
(ii) Simulator training – 60 mins (2 sessions/ days)
(iii) On road practicals – 5 hours (5 days)
(iv) Evaluation
– Theoretical – 60 mins
– Practical – 30 mins

Refresher Course
(i) 4 hours of on road practical training
(ii) Simulator – Virtual Car, for holistic on-road practice and better judgments.

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