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With rising road mishaps, brace for tough driving tests

Soaring number of fatal accidents has prompted the traffic police department and the Regional Transport Office to make driving tests more stringent, among other initiatives

Despite repeated attempts by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to discourage drivers from breaking traffic rules and driving rashly, the number of fatal accidents in the city keeps rising each year, climbing up to 450 last year. Concerned by the increasing trend of deadly accidents, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare has instructed the RTO to issue driving licences only to applicants who are thorough with the basic traffic rules.

The traffic police
Be on your guard: The traffic police will undertake safety drives to promote road safety measures like helmets for bikers. File Pic

Last year, 100 pedestrians and 350 two-wheeler riders and passengers died in road accidents, apart from the fatalities recorded in car accidents. The numbers only get worse in the monsoon, with the toll rising by almost 35 per cent. According to DCP Pandhare, the number of accidents can be reduced by a huge margin by simply creating awareness about the importance of observing road safety rules, and by ensuring that only those who drive by the rules are issued licences.

“We have asked the RTO officer to set high standards while issuing driving licences, and reject applications if applicants do not have basic knowledge of traffic rules, as they contribute to the increasing number of road accidents,” Pandhare said. The Pune RTO recently set up a stall with a new testing system on a pilot basis. While earlier, a batch of applicants would go in and answer the same questions displayed on a screen, now each applicant will get a separate list of questions on a computer.
This will help RTO staff to check for copying of answers during the test.

Regional Transport Officer Jitendra Patil said the changes are being made to ensure thorough driving knowledge. “We have put tricky questions in the learner’s licence test to ensure that applicants know the rules. The automated testing track, which is likely to be completed by the end of the year, will also help eliminate drivers unable to drive properly. As manual interference will be minimised during the test, the scope of error will be less,” he said.

Apart from these efforts, the traffic police will also conduct safety education drives. “It is essential to spread awareness among citizens. We will visit various educational and corporate institutions to speak about the importance of obeying traffic rules and how it can help avert accidents,” said Pandhare, adding, “Due to our constant efforts, more than 6,000 two-wheeler riders working at the Hinjewadi IT park started using helmets, as the IT companies did not allow any rider to enter the premises without a helmet. We are planning to implement the same plan at various government and private institutions.”

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