The Indian government will soon begin the standardization procedure for driving licenses across the country. The format, fonts and layouts of driving licenses across India will be the same, just like say a passport or PAN card. Universal smart card driving licenses will be issued by all Regional Transport Offices (RTO) across all states of India. This is meant to make driving licenses across India have a standard format, and also prevent duplication. Currently, driving licenses issued by various state RTOs are in different formats, making it difficult for enforcement agencies such as traffic police officials and motor vehicle departments to verify them during routine checks.
Also, there is a big problem of driving license duplication as a nationwide driver’s license database is not yet functional. The government plans to make Aadhar-linking for driving licenses compulsary, and this is meant to eliminate duplication. The government’s plan for standardization of driving licenses was revealed by the Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha – the upper house of the Indian parliament. according to the FinancialExpress.
The Indian government has also approved the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill that will now have to be passed by the upper house of parliament (Rajya Sabha). This bill seeks to steeply increase fines for traffic offences in order to discourage motorists from breaking laws. It also plans to make Aadhar-linking compulsary for driving licenses through this amendment, which is yet to become a law. The bill which was first tabled in 2017 was unable to pass through the upper house. It remains to be seen if it’s successful this time around.
What the Indian government will also need to implement is a more rigorous testing mechanism before driving licenses are granted. Currently, the testing mechanism for driving licenses is not very stringent, and this is resulting in many under-trained drivers and riders hitting the Indian roads. Such riders and drivers are a threat to other road users, and this is a big reason for Indian roads being so unsafe. Along with increasing fines for traffic offences, a more stringent testing mechanism for driving license applicants will ensure that only good drivers and riders will have access to the privilege of driving. Standardization of licenses is a small but welcome step but a lot more needs to be done to make Indian roads lose their notorious distinction of being unsafe.