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Department introduces new driver testing system

Botswana has introduced the Intelligent Driver Testing System (IDTS), a first of its kind in Africa. 

Addressing  a media conference in Gaborone on October 22, the Director of Road Transport and Safety, Mr Bokhutlo Modukanele said the project, at Maruapula practical yard testing ground, entailed full computerisation of the testing ground, which meant all the disciplines in the yard test were conducted through the computer. 

Mr Modukanele said the Maruapula IDTS concept was a result of a benchmarking mission and the system had a successful track record in 10 countries, including Russia, China and Georgia. 

He said the idea embraced the fourth Industrial Revolution that was conceived as a result of government strategic intentions outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy. 

Mr Modukanele said the IDTS was aimed at improving driver training and testing in Botswana, with the ultimate goal to improve driver competence so as to reduce road traffic accidents, which continue to claim many lives in Botswana.  He said the technology originated in South Korea, and it was currently in use in some of the highly industrialised countries where it had proven to be effective. 

He said the establishment of IDTS in Botswana came at a critical time when there was a global need to improve driver competency through the use of standardised driver training as well as the use of objective and fair assessment systems and practices as per the United Nations’ strategic initiative to reduce road traffic accidents and their associated socio-economic impact. 

Mr Modukanele said Batswana who travelled internationally would not face any challenges with their drivers’ licences, as they would meet international standards. 

He said the IDTS was fully computerised, with checks and balances, to eliminate corrupt practices, reduce human error or manipulation, facilitate free, fair and transparent testing as well as improve operational efficiency and customer service. 

He said there were a number of complaints of human interference with the manual testing, adding that the computerised system would promote transparency, fairness and reduce corruption. 

He said the majority of the test parameters of the road test were computerised, leaving only a few non-automated ones, subject to manual input such as learner driver observations and response to emergency situations. 

“For instance, some people have stage fright and would freeze during driving, that would then need the assistance of an observer to help return the car,” he said 

He said government-owned vehicles were fitted with computerised gadgets linked to the system used to facilitate driver testing for candidates at no cost, adding that prospective drivers would not be expected to bring their own vehicles for the testing. 

He explained that IDTS was only operational in Gaborone and would in future be rolled out in other parts of country, funds permitting. 

For his part, the Station Manager of Maruapula IDTS, Mr Mitchell Mogorosi said they tested for Class A, B, C and P4 buses licences. 

Mr Mogorosi said the yard had a 120 capacity use per day, on different classes, be it manual or automatic vehicles. 

He said the system was tamper proof, adding that so far, 2 630 candidates had passed and been issued with licences. 

Mr Mogorosi said they followed all the COVID-19 protocols such as booking 10 people per session, to avoid crowding. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Lesedi Thatayamodimo

Location : Gaborone

Event : Press brief

Date : Oct 25 Sun,2020

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