Neha Sharma, 21, learnt how to drive in 15 days, spending half an hour a day behind the wheel. Now, she is confident of managing her four-wheeler with efficiency on the road. When asked about theory classes, she said driving needs only practical classes.
However, the Madhya Pradesh government disagrees with her. Realising that a lack of theoretical knowledge is a major reason behind the rise in accidents, the state transport department has made theory classes mandatory for trainee drivers.
According to the state crime record bureau data, 95,000 people were killed in road accidents over the past 13 years. In 2014 alone, over-speeding killed 4,070 people and dangerous or careless driving/overtaking resulted in 2,771 deaths.
“The main objective behind establishment of schools is to give the best training to drivers in order to reduce the number of road accidents. Most driving schools do not follow the Centre Motor Vehicle Act, 1989 properly,” said MP transport department commissioner Shailendra Shrivastava.
“To improve the quality of vehicle training schools, they will now have to turn into full-fledged schools instead of just providing practical training in vehicles to their trainees. The driving school has to follow all the rules mentioned in the Act. The officers of the department will monitor the schools to ensure the implementation of rules,” said Shrivastava.
Driving schools must now have a blackboard, a road plan board with necessary model signals and charts, traffic signs chart, charts on automatic signals and signals given by traffic controllers where there are no automatic signals, a service chart depicting a detailed view of all the components of a motor vehicle, driving instructions manual and benches and tables for trainees.
The trainees must be taught through powerpoint presentations and videos related to demonstration of road safety.
The commissioner also clearly stated the action would be taken against the owner of the schools, if they disobey the rules.
However, the driving schools aren’t happy with the move. “It’s wastage of time to hold theory classes. During training, we explain everything to trainees,” Narendra Singh, the owner of a driving school in Bhopal said.