Driving tests suspended till May 24 in Kasaragod due to 'Covid-19'

Representational Image: Manorama/ File

Kasaragod: Driving tests were suspended till May 24 in Kasaragod amid the indefinite strike organised by driving school owners across the State on Thursday. According to applicants, the message from the Transport Department rejected their application citing Covid-19 as the reason.

Driving school owners began the indefinite strike on Thursday in protest against the new regulations introduced by the state Motor Vehicle Department for driving tests. The decision was made collectively by various associations, including CITU, INTUC and All Kerala Driving School Owners Association in a meeting here on Tuesday night.

In Malappuram, the school owners blocked the entrance to the driving test ground and shouted slogans against the authorities.  The test has not taken place anywhere in the district.

In Kannur, the school owners observed Thursday as a black day.  The MVD was unable to conduct the test in the district due to the protest.

In Pathanamthitta too, the protesters picketed test grounds. Authorities left the test ground without conducting the exmination in Adoor.

The Driving School Owners' Samithy boycotted the driving test scheduled at Sulthan Bathery, on Thursday. 

Driving tests were put on hold in Alappuzha in protest against the revised norms that came into effect on Thursday. Driving school owners say, while they do not harbour any resentment towards the government, the new norms have been put in place without properly addressing the grievances.

'' The order to not allow vehicles over 15 years for driving tests, after spending Rs 10,000 annually on their fitness, places heavy burden on smaller driving schools, as we are now required to procure newer vehicles. The cutting down of slots for driving tests will adversely affect prospects of candidates, especially holders of learners licenses which have an expiry date of six months. The requirement to have cameras within the vehicles and the directive to submit the memory card with the RTO offical every day to collect it at a later time is unnecessary.The officials are already recording the tests on camera,'' said Austin Rozario of Austin Driving School, Alappuzha

The revised norms aim at enhancing the evaluation of candidates' driving abilities across different road conditions.
The government's plan to implement these new regulations from Thursday onwards has triggered opposition from driving schools, prompting them to organise a protest demanding the withdrawal of the circular detailing these reforms.

Key changes in the rules include limiting the number of driving test applicants supervised by a Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) per day to 30. This was later increased to 60 following intense protests. Additionally, vehicles with automatic gear, transmission, and electric vehicles are prohibited from use in the driving test. Moreover, driving schools are required to use vehicles no older than 15 years equipped with dashboard cameras for testing purposes.

Protesters argue that there are insufficient testing grounds in the state suitable for the implementation of new rules, except for one in Mavelikkara. Although the Motor Vehicle Department has allowed driving tests to continue under the old rules until new facilities are established, protesters claim that the department has not revoked the circular issued in February enforcing stricter testing norms.

The driving schools have also decided not to participate in driving tests, learners tests, and driving classes until the circular is officially withdrawn.

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