RTO wants driving schools in Mumbai to teach with better vehicles

Officials have told vehicle dealers to ask manufacturers to sell better models of dual control vehicles to the schools at cheaper prices

On an average, Mumbai sees around 600 deaths on the road annually. Maharashtra is among the top five states that sees around 13,000 road accident deaths annually. While accidents cannot directly be blamed on driving schools, many motor driving schools are in a sorry state of affairs. The officials from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) feel that the vehicles used to teach people are quite old and there is a need for these schools to improve facilities.

The authorities say many vehicles belonging to motor driving schools are brought to RTO regularly, for routine inspection or for tests of their students, but the vehicles might not be road worthy. Pic for representation/Thinkstock
The authorities say many vehicles belonging to motor driving schools are brought to RTO regularly, for routine inspection or for tests of their students, but the vehicles might not be road worthy. Pic for representation/Thinkstock

Recently, there was a meeting between the RTO officers of Wadala, motor driving schools representatives and vehicle dealers at Bandra Kurla Complex. Sources in the RTO said that there are around 152 motor driving schools in Mumbai but very few of them have good quality vehicles used to teach people with learners’ licence. There are barely 3-5 per cent that fall under the A grade while rest are under grades B, C and D. If the D grade motor driving schools don’t improve, then their licences are cancelled. Grades are decided as per facilities given and the quality of the cars etc.

“Only around 5-10 per cent or so of the total number of vehicles used are new, the rest are more than seven years old,” said S Sasane, official, Wadala RTO. The officials said most vehicles used to teach are of Hyundai and Maruti make. Although there is no set age for these vehicles, the officials from Transport department feel that like heavy vehicles that have an age limit of 10 years, there must be a mandatory age limit for these smaller four wheelers too.

Most of the vehicles have semi-power steering wheels, and technologically too they are not advanced. The motor driving schools also mainly teach the basic use of accelerator, clutch and brake. “At present the vehicles that run on the road have advanced technology. However, the vehicle manufacturers do not manufacture dual control vehicles meant for teaching,” said another RTO official.

The authorities said that many of these vehicles belonging to motor driving schools are brought to RTO regularly, either for routine inspection or for tests of their students, but the vehicles are quite old and might not be road worthy too. Sometimes, the outer body is damaged, the lights are broken, the names of the driving school are faded and there are dents on the vehicles.

At the recent meeting, the RTO has asked the vehicle dealers to ask manufacturers to sell better models of dual control vehicles to motor driving schools at cheaper prices. “People are not even ready to pay Rs 5,000 for the course against a good vehicle. The motor-driving schools look at a basic vehicle or an older one whereby the price of teaching in it comes down to mere Rs 2,700-3,000. The government should make the higher fees, eg Rs 5,000, compulsory so that people agree to shell out more and even we get the incentive to introduce new vehicles,” said a motor driving school owner.

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