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Maruti driving into the hearts of safe-driving

Maurit launches an initiative urging drivers in the Capital to undergo voluntary tests of their driving skills, reports Deepak Joshi.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2007 16:43 IST

The country’s leading auto-maker finds itself in something of a spot in the Capital for road mishaps and rash driving.

Maurit Udyog Ltd launched an initiative urging licensed drivers in the Capital to undergo voluntary tests of their driving skills. Over 1200 applied. And Maruti can accommodate only 200 applicants at one go at its two driving institutes in Sarai Kale Khan and Loni.

Both centers are now working overtime to squeeze in the excess demand.
The result of the tests too is interesting. Says Maruti Managing Director Jagdish Khattar: “About 80 per cent of the applicants generally fail in following road signs and change of gears.”

“However, it is a small step in reducing road accidents,” he adds.
As per available estimates, 4-5 persons die every day in the Capital as in road mishaps. Annually, nearly 1lakh deaths occur in the country due to road accidents.

It was the high number of accidents that had prompted the carmaker to set up a driver-training institute at Loni seven years ago. “We have replicated the test tracks in Japan and Singapore. Simulators are provided by a French company, which has established an Indian subsidiary for the purpose,” says Khattar.
Buoyed by the success of the driving schools in Delhi, 15 Maruti dealers have also established similar ventures across the country. Efforts are afoot to double this number by year-end.

The governments of Haryana, Bihar, Uttarakhand and West Bengal too have approached Maruti to set up driving schools in their respective state. An organised road-driving training institute will minimise the role of touts, who dominate the “driving license business”.

Perhaps, the most remarkable and long-term option is being exercised by the Gujarat government for tribals in the state. Maruti has been asked to set up a training school with residential facilities, where tribal youth can also be trained to become mechanics.

The state government is confident that the exercise would enable tribals to find jobs in garages, apart from becoming well-trained drivers.

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First Published: Feb 11, 2007 16:43 IST