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No takers for driving simulators

Since its launch in 2009, the project has been languishing for lack of funds

In yet another display of bureaucratic apathy and red-tapism, one more public-friendly project of installing 'driving simulators' across all the RTOs that are considered to be the in-thing for improving driving skills of aspiring drivers, hasn't moved an inch after it was launched at the Mumbai Central RTO in January 2009 during the Road Safety Week.



It's been two years and none of the other RTOs in the city have been fitted with these simulators. If the sources are to be believed, then the project has been laid to rest due to lack of government clearances and funds.

Insider speaks
"A simulator costs about Rs 14 lakh. Considering the high cost of the equipment, the finance ministry and other departments are yet to fund the procurement of additional machines," said a Transport Department official.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who also holds the transport portfolio, has assured that he would expedite sanctioning of funds for the simulators at the upcoming Road Safety Fortnight 2012.

"As of now there is no official word on continuing with the driving simulators," said V N More, State Transport Commissioner.

Machine returned
The expensive simulator donated by the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) was lying unused at the Mumbai Central RTO for nearly a year and half.

However, the RTO officials citing maintenance and security issues have returned the machine.

"It's been nearly two months since the machine has been returned to WIAA," said a senior RTO official, requesting anonymity.

Last December, the air-condition compressor of  the simulator was stolen. When contacted, WIAA Chairperson Nitin Dossa refused to comment.

Nail in the coffin
Another reason cited by the RTO officials for the death of these simulators was its lack of availability across other RTOs in the city, especially Andheri and Wadala.

"It's senseless for people to come and visit these two RTOs on a daily basis for clearing their driving tests, if they lack simulators," said another RTO official.

Uses
>> Training in critical driving conditions
>> Training for impaired users
>> Analysis of the driver's behaviour/response 
>> Analysis of the user's performances
>> Evaluating user performances in different conditions (handling of controls)

Did you know?
Driving simulators are being increasingly used for training drivers all over the world.

Research has shown that driving simulators are proven to be excellent practical and effective educational tools to impart safe driving training techniques for all drivers.

There are various types of driving simulators that are being used like train simulators, bus simulator, car simulator, truck simulator etc.

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