CHENNAI: For better or for worse, the present system of testing a driver’s skill, before he or she is awarded the license, is fraught with one lingering suspicion. It arises out of inaccuracies in human judgement. After all, it is possible that errors committed by the driver may be overlooked by the Motor Vehicle Inspector for various reasons including a paucity of time.
But the Transport Department is now attempting to reduce the discretionary power wielded by the inspector. For that purpose, the department is soon to commence the trial of an advanced driving testing system.
The project, developed by students of Karur-based M Kumarasamy College of Engineering, will apply to Light Motor Vehicles (cars). It will involve sensors, installed along the testing track, monitoring the car’s movement.
Furthermore, a portrait camera will be installed on the car’s dashboard to prevent others from impersonating the applicant. With cameras also installed high above the test track, the proceedings can be relayed to a control room, to be set up in the Regional Transport Offices.
According to a senior Transport Department official, the project idea was inspired by examples in Gujarat and Maharashtra (Pune). A meeting chaired by the Transport Commissioner was recently held, wherein a technical committee, which included experts from IIT Madras, evaluated the project. Students of the college have already developed a prototype, with steps being taken to make a working model.
Impressed with the project, authorities have decided to implement it on trial basis for six months at the Karur RTO. “The system will be analysed during that period and improvements, if any, can be incorporated,” the official said, adding that, if found feasible, the system would be replicated at 13 other RTOs.
The main trigger appears to be the need to reduce accidents in the State, a majority of which have been identified to be the driver’s fault. “It is unfortunate the State is leading the accidents chart. But by making the test stringent, we hope to improve a person’s ability to drive safely.”
Other benefits include reducing the human bias involved in the licensing process by objectively testing the skills of a driver. “There will be no conflict with Motor Vehicle Inspectors. The sensors will indicate the performance of the driver and the result will be conveyed immediately,” the official said.