A survey conducted across 10 cities and 5 metros in India, which have the highest vehicle density, has revealed that 60% of drivers, possessing valid driving licenses, have never been put through a driving test. The survey was conducted by SaveLife Foundations, a road safety advocacy group, and these startling facts have been brought into focus.
Just 12% of drivers in Agra received their licenses through the proper means by giving driving tests while 88% stated that they did not go through the regular process for receipt of their licenses. It was the same story in Jaipur and Guwahati where 72% and 64% drivers respectively stated that they did not give any driving test while in Delhi and Mumbai it was found that 52% drivers skipped the mandatory test.
This survey conducted draws attention to the fact that these discrepancies in issue of driving licenses have been noted by the Government of India. In fact, Raya Sabha has initiated an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act passed by the Lok Sabha. The amendment seeks an IT based driving test for applicants and a fine in case fake licenses are held or if drivers hold more than one license.
On an average, the 997 regional transport offices across the country issue 1.15 crore new licenses or renew driving licenses each year. This averages to 40 licenses each day and in some cases this could go upto 130 licenses per day (in case of big city like Delhi).
While driving test is mandatory, the licensing system is so corrupt that agents rule the system and issue driving licenses without conducting these tests. The Supreme Court has also urged that RTO officers should not be issuing more than 15-20 driving licenses per day as it is just not possible to conduct driving tests for 130-150 drivers on a daily basis.
Issuing driving license without testing the rider / driver skills, is not only dangerous for the person, but also for others who will be sharing the road with such people. Driving license test makes sure that you can ride / drive your vehicle, you understand road signs, understand the importance of traffic rules and regulations, etc.
Everyday, we see examples in front of us. There are drivers / riders who have no regard for traffic discipline, are cutting lanes, not stopping at red light, over speeding and what not. India registers the highest number of road deaths in the world. Along with better infrastructure, we also need drivers / riders who are responsible.