KOCHI: Aprominent driving school in the district was recently found training students without a valid learner's licence. “The trainer at the school said I can start driving on the road the next day. Other than noting down my name and date of birth, there was no registration process. I wasn't aware of the process of acquiring a learner's licence before the training. After a month of on-road and ground training, my learner's licence test was scheduled,” says Feba Thomas, who learns driving at the school.
This isn't an isolated incident. Many driving schools in the district openly disregard laws by opting to teach their students without a valid learner's licence.In the state, the first step to get a driving licence for any vehicle is acquiring a learner's licence after passing an online test based on the theoretical knowledge of traffic rules and signs. One can only start learning to drive after getting this permit.
“The trainees should be admitted to driving schools as per the Motor Vehicles Department's Form 14. For this, a valid learner's licence is required,” says Rajeev Puthalath, Joint Transport Commissioner & Secretary.He says the establishment licence of any driving school found violating this will be suspended. “Those behind the wheel will be dealt with, in accordance with the amended Motor Vehicles Bill.
Also, if these vehicles are involved in an accident and a problem arises with the learner's licence, the first accused will be the trainer because he or she persuaded the trainee into that situation,” says the official.
According to the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD), there are 257 registered driving schools in the district. Even though MVD conducts regular checks in the district, no driving schools have been charged.
While the driving school found violating rules refused to comment, All-Kerala Motor Driving School Association president P L Milan said, “We don't condone motor driving schools teaching students without a valid learner's licence test. We strictly direct schools and trainers to ask students to keep their licence with them during their training. In most cases, the students don't even know they are at fault.”