Addressing the inauguration of the 26th road safety fortnight at Marine Lines on Tuesday, chief minister Devendra Fadanvis directed the state’s transport department to make the process of issuing driving licences more stringent, to ensure that no one gets a licence without undergoing a test.
The chief minister said tests must be conducted before licences are issued, pointing out that 10-20% driving licences are still issued illegally. “Drastic changes should be made to the licensing process. It should be made practical and knowledge should be tested,” said Fadnavis.
Fadnavis said the younger generation should be given road safety lessons in schools so they can grasp the rules fast and pass on the information to their parents.
Transport minister Diwakar Raote said, “For effective implementation of the Motor Vehicles Act, the traffic department, which comes under the home department, needs to be brought under the transport ministry.” Raote also said, “Road safety drives have been conducted for the past 25 years, but the principles haven’t reached the people,” he said.
Gautam Chatterjee, the new transport secretary of the state, said the number of vehicles on state’s roads has shot up to 2.5 crore from 1.25 crore in the past five years, and that every month, 1,000 people lose their lives in road accidents, while 3,000 get injured. “In the newly proposed Road Transport and Safety Act, emphasis has been put on road safety,” said Chatterjee.