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Here’s possibly why government is setting stringent skill tests to obtain driving licence

As the government sets stringent skill tests to obtain a driving license, we looked at the data to find why it is imperative.

March 26, 2021 / 05:07 PM IST

Those seeking driving licences are now required to pass a set of stringent skill tests that include reversing a vehicle with reasonable accuracy to qualify for it, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported citing a reply to the Lok Sabha on March 25. Also, passing percentage in order to be eligible to get a driving licence in all regional transport offices (RTOs) has been fixed at 69 percent, the report noted.

In this context, Moneycontrol looked at the number of road accidents reported over the last five years involving the type of driving licence held by the driver.

As many as 4,49,002 road accidents were reported across India in 2019, of which 72 percent of accidents involved drivers holding a valid driver licence, according to Road Accidents in India 2019 report by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the latest available.

However, since 2016, there is a decline (from 84 percent) in the share of accidents involving drivers holding a valid driving licence.

Likewise, the share of accidents involving drivers with learner’s licence too has reported a fall over the last five years. While accidents that were reported without a valid licence, reported an 18 percent increase in (44,358) 2019 over (37,585) 2018, after reporting a fall in the previous year compared to 2017.

Road accidents involving drivers without valid licence and learner's licence, both, comprised nearly 15 percent of all the road accidents in 2019.

“Vehicles driven by untrained and unqualified drivers are a serious traffic hazard and can cause accidents, death and injuries,” the Road Accidents in India report states. “Though the problem is basically an enforcement issue, it must also be addressed with better facilities and opportunities for training/skilling and evaluation/testing,” it said.

“It is also informed that the objective of conducting driving skill test(s), as per the above provision, is to produce qualified/talented drivers," the minister had said in his reply to the Lok Sabha on March 25.

In terms of road accidents caused by traffic rules violation, over-speeding is the main cause of accidents reported in India. Over-speeding accounted for 71 percent of all the road accidents in 2019, followed by ‘driving on wrong side/lane indiscipline’ (5.4 percent) and ‘drunken driving/consumption of alcohol & drugs’ (2.7 percent) and ‘use of mobile phone’ (2.3 percent) and ‘jumping red light’ (1 percent).

On March 20, three-people were killed and three others were injured in a road accident in Mohali. The accused, an 18 year-old teenager in the hit-and-run case from Chandigarh did not have a driving licence and was drunk while driving the car, media reports state.

“The Ministry has formulated a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care,” Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha on March 18 while replying to a question on Road Safety Awareness.

Chaitanya Mallapur
first published: Mar 26, 2021 05:07 pm