The Delhi government's Transport Department has set mid-2018 as the target for laying automated test-drive tracks where the skills of applicants seeking driving licences would be tested. With a growing number of vehicles on the city roads and the subsequent rise in the number of driving licence applicants, a need has been felt for improved driving skills to bring down accidents and ensure smooth traffic flow. In its present format, the test drive exercise suffers from a lack of resources and prompt monitoring, leading to allegations that even applicants with dubious skills pass the test and get a licence. The automated test-drive tracks would comprise sensors, CCTV cameras and special manoeuvring pathways to test the driving skills. A Transport Department team had recently visited 2-3 states where automated tracks were being used and submitted its recommendations about appropriate technology to the senior
"After recommendations are finalised the automated test drives will be set up. The target is that by mid-2018 all driving licences be issued only after automated driving tests," Transport Department Secretary Varsha Joshi said.
Spaces have been identified next to the offices of motor licensing officers (MLOs) for developing the tracks and the
work has started, she said. There are 16 MLO offices in Delhi and the whole exercise of equipping them with automated test driving facility is expected to cost around Rs 10 crore. The number of registered vehicles in Delhi has crossed the one crore mark, while the number of driving licence seekers has also gone up significantly. Around 2.75 lakh persons applied and got permanent driving licences, while over four lakh obtained learners licences.