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RTOs to teach driving instructors a lesson

Certificate courses could be made mandatory for them after authorities discover many of these trainers lack basic qualifications

Those who can't do, teach. Regional transport offices (RTOs) in the city are treating this adage pretty seriously these days. The focus is on the hundreds of driving instructors in Mumbai, many of whom allegedly are not qualified enough to teach and don't have any documents to support their eligibility. Now, authorities are mulling mandatory certificate courses for these instructors.


Driving lessons: Bharat Kalaskar, deputy regional transport officer
(Western) giving instructions to the motor driving teachers as part of a
test launch in Andheri. PIC/Sayed Sameer Abedi


According to government data, there are 325 driving schools in Mumbai with RTO officials claiming each of these employs at least three instructors. This takes the total number to over 900. On paper, a person needs to have over seven years of driving experience before becoming an instructor apart from possessing technical knowledge about automobiles.

Back to school
"Actually, many of these instructors are school dropouts and they don't have sufficient qualification to teach. Yet they become teachers solely on the basis of their driving experience. So, we have planned this certificate course for the instructors," said Bharat Kalaskar, deputy regional transport officer (Western). As part of a test launch, on January 11, a batch of 25 driving instructors was issued these certificates.

Those who want to learn driving can demand to see these certificates from accredited driving schools in the next few months, once most of them are covered. Officials from transport department feel that would bring about a positive change in the accident statistics across the city and state.

"Teaching safe driving is important if we have to bring down accident rates. But RTOs should also ensure that a driver is asked to undergo medical tests from time to time," said Arun Shukla, proprietor, Popular Motor Driving School.

Braking point
Another driving school owner said that the instructors and drivers should also receive refresher courses. "Even if a driver knows how to properly steer a vehicle, the government should make it mandatory for him to learn driving for 30 days," he said.

Revathi Roy of Viira Cabs said, "Just because one is a good driver, doesn't mean that he becomes a good driving instructor. So, such a programme is necessary. The course should cover issues like role of instructors, trainee management, vehicle knowledge, signs, signals & markings, sharing the road, defensive driving, effects of alcohol, legislation, emergency situations and first aid."

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