Since 1993, every third Sunday of November has been marked as the Day of Remembrance of Road Accident victims. Although this day was adopted by the United Nations in 2005, very little is known about it. It passes unnoticed by many people. However, anyone who has suffered severe injuries or has lost loved ones as a result of the accident scourge, everyday is a day to remember the dark day when the road accident happened. Of all the stakeholders in the transport sector, who is to blame? Is it the government for failing erect footbridges or tighten rules on anyone who breaks traffic rules? Are the pedestrians to blame? Are the reckless and untrained drivers to blame? Most of the accidents happen as a result of carelessness of drivers and failing to obey the set traffic rules. The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has stepped in to stem this menace that leads to loss of lives, injuries and high costs associated to catering for the affected people.
The NTSA has learnt that there are a high number of drivers who are not properly trained yet they are entrusted with people’s lives as drivers. One way the Authority has come up with to weed out these rogue drivers is the idea of launching smart driving licences. These smart driving licences will be designed in a way that they have some points preloaded on them. Whenever a driver breaks a traffic rule or commits any other traffic offence and they are found out, a number of points will be deducted from the driving licence depending on the offence. If this continues for a long time and the maximum level is attained, the licence will become a dummy and will be suspended. The driver will be fined and required to go back to a driving school to learn of their mistakes and rectify in future.
The NTSA plans to roll out these smart driving licences mid next year. Since these types of driving licences have not been used before here in Kenya, they will have some unique implications. Kenya is gradually becoming digitized on all fronts and these could be some of the things to look out for once the smart driving licences are launched.
a) Type of information contained
Smart driving licences contain all the drivers’ vital information that can be accessed whenever there is an emergency. It contains the vehicles’ information so that it becomes easy to identify the car owners and who to blame in the event that the car is involved in an accident. Driver’s blood type and the insurance cover are some of the vital info contained in a smart driving licence.
Since this is a product of digitization, renewal is also done digitally. After the expiry of the set period that one should use the smart DL, they will not be required to fill in other papers to get a new one. All the information will be saved by the relevant authorities and drivers are only required to comply with that to have new licences.
c) Driving history
Unlike the paper driving licenses that do not record the offenses committed by the driver, the smart DLs will keep a record of all the drivers’ and ensure that they are accounted for. This will make it possible to administer fines and be able to apprehend the quack drivers.
d) Impact on stakeholders
Through the driving history contained in the smart DL, other stakeholders are aware of the type of driver one is. Companies are able to employ the driver with the least cases of road accidents judging by the history. Insurance firms are also able to determine what premiums should be paid by drivers after they review their driving history.