All driving testing centres in city to be automated by November
The state’s transport department on Sunday said it has already begun laying automated tracks at the remaining eight licensing centres and the work is likely to be completed in about three months’ time.Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 08:20 IST
If all goes as planned, then from November, everyone applying for a permanent driving licence in Delhi will have to mandatorily prove their skills in the automated driving test tracks in the city.
The state’s transport department on Sunday said it has already begun laying automated tracks at the remaining eight licensing centres and the work is likely to be completed in about three months’ time.
Delhi has a total of 12 motor licencing centres, of which three conduct fully automated driving tests. Another one at Sarai Kale Khan is a semi-automatic facility, which was opened in March last year. This system is different from the three fully automatic centres — at Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Surajmal Vihar (also called the Vishwas Nagar centre) and Burari — as it has fewer sensors and cameras.
It also has an option for manual issue of test results, which is not available in the fully automated centres.
According to KK Dahiya, special commissioner (transport), the automated tracks at Shakurbasti, Rohini, Dwarka and Raja Garden will be completed first.
“These will be ready by August-end. Four more centres in Loni, Hari Nagar, Lado Sarai and Jharoda Kalan will be ready by October. Once ready, these eight centres along with the existing four facilities will make automated tests mandatory for all seeking driving licences in Delhi,” he said.
Since the track at Rohini is presently under construction, all tests meant for the centre are being conducted at the automated centre in Burari.
Experts welcomed the step forward towards automation of driving tests, but also suggested for stricter practices.
Rohit Baluja of the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) said drivers in the city should get more “situation-based” training. “It is good that we are at least moving out of the lousy test system where a licencing inspector merely stands and sees the driver drive the car or two-wheeler from a short distance. But, Indians already have good skill sets. What is also needed is situation based tests where a driver is put in real traffic and road scenarios and judged on his decisions,” he said.
At the automated test tracks, an applicant is marked on 24 skill sets. The tracks have a total of 10 different test patterns — seven for four wheelers and three for two-wheelers. An applicant needs to reverse her car on S-shaped tracks, drive uphill and also swerve at bends shaped like an ‘8’. The driver is also judged on her behaviour as there are separate tracks to test decisions on over-taking and at traffic junctions
KK Kapila, chairman, International Road Federation (IRF) — a global body working for better and safer roads worldwide — supported the automated tracks and said they must be made mandatory for all to ensure better driving practices.
The driving test tracks will also have a watchtower, similar to that in airports, from where an inspector will monitor all test takers. All these tracks are being built by Maruti Suzuki with no cost to the government as the private firm is undertaking the project as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The company is also making a video to explain people the entire process of getting a driving licence.