Mumbai: New Driving License Rules That May 'Simplify' Licensing Process; Check Details Here

Mumbai: New Driving License Rules That May 'Simplify' Licensing Process; Check Details Here

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued these new driving license rules in view of ‘simplifying’ the licensing process.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 02:22 AM IST
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Starting from June 1, applicants need not take driving tests at the Regional Transport Office (RTO), instead, these tests will now be conducted at accredited private driving schools. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued these new driving license rules in view of ‘simplifying’ the licensing process.

The new system in consideration of the license rules includes no driving tests at RTO, which will be the duty managed by private driving schools. Applicants will have to undergo training – 29 hours (4 weeks) for light motor vehicles like cars, and two-wheelers and 38 hours (6 weeks) for heavy motor vehicles like trucks, buses, etc. These lessons or training will come in two parts – theory, where the applicant will be learning about traffic norms and practical training i.e., behind-the-wheel practice before their examination. Importantly, the Rs. 500 penalties that motorists paid when caught driving without a license will now pay Rs. Rs. 2,000 or more for the same offence. In case a minor is caught driving, the parents or guardians will face a hefty fine of Rs. 25,000, along with legal action and cancellation of the vehicle’s registration.

For the driving schools, if they want to be accredited by the government, as per norms, they shall occupy at least one acre of land – for training two-wheelers and a minimum of two acres for training four-wheelers. Applicants shall receive a certificate upon completion of their training and passing the test, which they can use to apply for a driving license without undergoing further testing at the RTO.

However, driving schools are not impressed with the new rules as they are concerned about the space, especially in Mumbai. “We do not have acres of land anywhere in Mumbai and if we had, we would not be running driving schools to make a living. Two-wheelers can still be managed, but what about heavy vehicles like trucks or even SUVs? We do not have that much space with us,” said an owner of a local driving school.

“So if we do not own acres of land we will not be considered? Since I heard the news from the government, I have been wondering if I should lock up my business and consider something else because I and many driving schools – the small-scale ones –have a small set-up like a shop where we have our offices, and for the driving and practices, we take the applicants to open grounds and we cannot afford such huge grounds for ourselves. Hence, we are not eligible,” another owner asked.

A former official working with the RTO said that this new rule may lead to corruption. “If a candidate, even if he or she isn’t eligible for a license, can buy it off from the driving schools. These schools only need to provide a certificate in exchange for money. This means we will have many more problematic drivers on Mumbai roads and everywhere – causing accidents, not following traffic discipline and creating chaos for all of us."

As per reports, even the Motor Driving School Owners Association in Maharashtra has criticised the new rules citing reasons like corruption and being unsustainable.

However, top officials at RTO (Maharashtra) assure that things will be done systematically and ethically. An official claimed that all the accredited motor training schools will be monitored to mitigate corruption on ground levels.

Talking to the Free Press Journal, Transport Commissioner IAS Vivek Bhimanwar said, "There is no rule saying everything will be changed overnight starting from June 1, it's just a rumour. The idea behind the new license rule has been going on for several years, and the reason is to bring more accuracy to the system." He continued, "It's not like the authority of issuing a license is being taken away from the RTO, but imparting training is the only job being handed over to private motor driving schools who manage to complete all the eligibility requirements. The driving tests that will be taken by private schools will be closely inspected by one of RTO's officers to make sure no malpractices or corruption is taking place." When asked about the impact of the move, he added, "This will bring transparency and efficiency. With it, using technology, things will get better for sure - when it comes to traffic discipline among new motorists!". Bhimanwar added that their department has started receiving proposals from driving schools, out of which some will be shortly finalised after it is approved by the central government.

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