29 Jun

ITS TIME TO CHANGE GEARS

ITS TIME TO CHANGE GEARS

If we do a google search in terms of driver training schools in India, it shares a list of more than 7 lakh driving schools. Not to forget, there are many schools that have no presence on the web and some schools have more than one school.

In spite of lakhs of driver training schools, India has some of the world’s most dangerous roads. Road accidents kill 400 people on Indian roads every day. Accidents are killing more people in India than terrorism or natural disasters …. Isn’t that strange?

Why is it so? Something has gone wrong somewhere….

Experts blame drivers for most road accidents. But do we need to relook at the driver training system in India?

While the license holder carries primary responsibility of any type of road accident, the other stakeholders like driver training schools, the agencies setting standards for road safety, enforcement agencies, will have to review its own contributions.

When Maharashtra state did an independent assessment of its driver schools, more than 90% failed to qualify for the set standards. If this is the rating in one of the advanced states of India, we leave it to your own conclusions.

It has to be reminded that even today, the expectations are of compliance to Motor Vehicles Act 1988. , until the new law of 2016, is implemented. Even when the new motor vehicle bill passes, it would only increase fines, toughen vehicle registration requirements and mandate road-worthiness tests for transport vehicles.
It still doesn’t talk about improving the driver training system and standards.

As a result, we are back to square one!

INDIA NEEDS A UNIFIED DRIVER TRAINING CURRICULUM

When compared to driver training systems in developed countries, driver training in India has much room for improvement. The major shortcomings can be attributed to
• Lack of a standardized driver training curriculum suited for Indian roads
• Lack of access to modern tools for driver training & assessment.

It’s time we recognize that driving training, not a 10 minute assisted driving lesson on a dual control vehicle for 20 days and then a lousy test. Besides, there is no separate training for basic drivers and licensed drivers.

Driving training is much more comprehensive than our outdated conventional methods. It’s about learning the right attitudes and skills to keep you, as a driver, safe and confident on the road, It is also about understanding the safety of co-drivers and pedestrians.

What if we run the driver training industry as the Indian education system, where the training curriculum is set and the delivery tools are standardized too?

We need to adopt a unified and standardized driver training program that includes a three-pronged approach involving a Classroom/ theory Training, Simulator Training and Behind the Wheel Training with fixed number of hours for each activity for the entire country.

Using technologies for training and testing drivers such as Driving simulators and clinical testing systems for testing hand- eye- feet coordination, will not only help the government in standardizing the training content but will also assist in delivering experienced based training that is scientific and effective.

Driver training schools will need to implement the process effectively. They need to build capacity for training and ensure its sustainability.

We have no doubt that the future will see compulsory driver training within approved courses as one part of a total road safety management system that contributes to a road safety culture. Its our responsibility to create safe drivers and safe road for a brighter future……

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