|Our Special Correspondent|
|The Bengal government has approached IIT Kharagpur to draw up a set of questions for candidates who will take an online test for learner's licence, a move aimed at ensuring that those taking the wheel know the traffic rules.|
The list will comprise questions on lane driving, what to do after an accident, the minimum distance to be kept between two vehicles, signals and signage, fines for violation of traffic rules and penal provisions under motor vehicles rules, among other topics.
"We are in the process of drawing up an exhaustive set of questions on a wide range of topics. Once ready, these questions will be provided to all regional transport offices which will conduct the online tests," professor Bhargab Maitra of IIT Kharagpur told
"The move is part of the government's drive to ensure that a candidate receiving a driving licence has adequate knowledge of safe driving," a transport department official said.
The government has also decided that a chip to be embedded in a driving licence will have the name and address of the driving school the candidate has attended and details of the official who has issued the licence.
"We will check the background of the driver if his vehicle is involved in an accident and also find out the driving school he has gone to," Surajit Kar Purakayastha, the director-general of police, said.
The top cop was speaking at a programme in the Science City auditorium organised by the transport department and attended by the operators of many driving schools.
Sources said a driving school would be blacklisted if it is found that a significant number of its students were flunking the test for driving licence.
Ever since chief minister Mamata Banerjee launched the "Safe Drive Save Life" campaign, the police and the transport department have been trying to put in place a system to reduce the number of road accidents. An order to petrol pumps across the state to deny fuel to those riding two-wheelers without helmets was part of the effort.
The need to have "knowledge-based online tests" for the learner's licence was felt after it became widely known that few are failing the conventional tests.
Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari was stumped when he learnt that out of the 2,434 candidates who had applied for the driving licence between January 1 and May 16 in Burdwan, only 25 had failed.
"We have already taken action against the officer concerned in Burdwan RTO. But driving schools too can't shirk their responsibility. They will have to be accountable, too," the minister said.
I am all praise for the Bengal government for their new found enthusiasm in making drivers actually pass Driving tests instead of touts just arranging Driving licence at a fee. And the surprising part is that they are asking the IIT , Kharagpur to set the questions to be asked at theoretical tests to be conducted.
I call this reinventing the wheel.
They can get all the information they want from any of the western countries.
While I was in the USA I was made aware of the stringent rules they have before one is given a driving licence.
You have to first pass an online test which asks all about the road signs and rules which govern driving on US roads.
40 questions are asked and you are allowed only 5 incorrect answers.
You can practice the online tests as many times as you want from your home but the actual online test is conducted in the office of the licencing authority.
Only after passing in the online test are you allowed to take the road driving test. There too the inspector sits beside you and asks you to perform different driving actions on the road.
It is only after you execute all the instructions correctly, are you given a licence. This too is issued immediately on the same day as you pass the test, within 1 hour.
My daughter-in-law passed the online test the first time she appeared but in the driving test, she failed the first time as she did not give the right of way to a pedestrian and stop for the pedestrian to cross.
There is a 104 booklet issued by the Secretary of State, Illinois Government dealing with just Rules of the Road. I would request the W B government go through the book which is available on https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a112.pdf
I was practicing those online questions when I was in the USA. I found that even my grand-children who are presently aged 6 and 7 were aware of the answers as they are even taught about this in their schools.
The people there follow the rules because they are scared of the police who are given the power to take action as per law without any political interference. This is so refreshingly different from Bengal where TMC workers are seen entering police stations and beating up police personnel. The same happens in states ruled by the BJP, where the BJP bullies do what they want and the police just look on.
In such a working atmosphere, Mamata is again fooling the people with this new found zeal just as Modi is fooling the nation.