Kathmandu, December 26
The government is preparing to tighten the process through which people can procure driving licences by making both the written and trial examinations stricter for large as well as small vehicles.
Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), informed that they are preparing the draft of the act that will govern the entire transportation sector to address the federal structure of the country.
“We have plans to complete the drafting process soon and get the final act endorsed through the ongoing session of the Federal Parliament,” he added. “We have proposed to change the examination method to avail licence to operate larger vehicles in the Federal Vehicles and Transport Act.”
According to Hamal, the number of fatal accidents involving public transport has been rising every passing year.
He informed that as per a study conducted by DoTM, 80 per cent of the road accidents occur due to the negligence of the drivers. “The remaining 20 per cent includes human error, mechanical faults, bad road conditions and careless pedestrians.
Hence, our major goal is to amend the licence test by targeting drivers,” he stated.
“We are planning to introduce a three-month formal course for licence aspirants, which will include subjects related to the mechanical condition of vehicles, overall condition of vehicles and also the way that drivers behave with passengers, among others,” Hamal added.
He informed that once the act is endorsed, vehicle licence aspirants will have to undertake the three-month formal course before they are eligible to attend the driving trial examination.
After passing the written test, aspirants will then be allowed to sit for the experimental trail test, which will be totally different from the present examination system.
“Licence-seekers will have to go through field trials before they can obtain a ‘temporary’ licence, which means that aspirants will be examined on how they drive in real conditions,”
Hamal said, adding that if they fail the examination, they will be given a chance for one more time only.
According to him, after passing the field test, there will be a further six-month trial period before the aspirant can actually obtain a ‘permanent’ licence.
Likewise, the new age limit in the proposed act is 18 years for two-wheelers and 25 years for four-wheelers.
“We will also be raising traffic fines through the federal law. Due to the rising incidents of traffic violations, we have proposed to increase the traffic violation fines by three folds from what they are at present,” said Hamal. “We believe that once the fines have been increased substantially, the number of road accidents will also decline.”
The act will also address the concerns of ride-sharing services and will clearly define whether it will be legal or not to transport passengers on vehicles registered for private use.
As per Hamal, the DoTM will hold discussions on the proposed act with the chief ministers of all the seven provinces on December 29 and 30.
At present, passenger vehicles have to operate in areas that lack basic road infrastructure which has been blamed for many accidents that have taken place in the recent past.
“We will discuss this issue with the chief ministers for a possible way out and take suggestions for reducing accidents, especially in hilly and mountainous regions,” Hamal said.
A version of this article appears in print on December 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.