If you’ve ever felt that there are more cars on the road compared to the number of people, you’re probably right. With easy finance options available on buying cars, many people are resorting to picking up more cars than required for a family. This adds to traffic and congestion on the streets, but there exists a greater problem than that. The need to be mobile is ‘driving’ (pun intended) people to get licenses by any means necessary and to facilitate that, there are a number of unlicensed or under-qualified driving schools popping up. Since this is an obvious hazard to road safety, the Government has stepped in, and the results are shocking.
Too cool for school
In August of 2018, an investigation carried out by Lokayukta had found that the owners of several motor driving schools in Margao had used proxy names of those qualified in motor mechanics or those having higher qualifications in mechanical engineering to obtain the licenses to run the schools. They also found eight driving schools in Ponda with instructors that were unfit for the job. Worst of all, a surprise inspection of a driving school in Mapusa revealed that it was operating out of the kitchen of a residence. Of the 27 motor driving schools operating in Mapusa, nine motor driving schools had their licenses canceled for ignoring classroom lectures on safe driving, and for not maintaining proper apparatus and equipment. Two motor driving schools were found to be closed.
Time to put the pedal to the metal
It was in the same month that the Department of Transport issued a work order for the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) to audit driving schools in Goa. The audit which began in September 2018 was carried out over the course of the last few months, and now that the results are in, they are not promising at all. Close to 150 driving schools across Goa were audited, and only 3 were graded excellent. 29 were very good, and 49 were good. The remaining 66 schools were either average, below average or poor, or unable to be audited.
The schools that have received a score that is average have been ordered to suspend operations with immediate effect. The owners will be issued a show cause notice directing them to upgrade their infrastructure and quality of teaching faculty within 120 days from the date of issue of the notice. Failing this, the respective licensing authority shall take necessary action. What’s more, once these driving schools are up to code, they will have to apply to ICAT and seek a re-audit (bearing the cost and related incidental expenses) before they can commence operations.
It’s about time the Government along with the Road Transport Authorities stepped in to take action. If you have been planning to approach a driving school in order to learn to drive or obtain your driving license, it would be prudent to confirm their grade before investing your time and money. Let us know your opinions in the comments below.