We have a ‘digital’ government, or certainly one that branded itself as ‘digital’ during the election campaign. Either way things are surely going digital as evidenced by a new automated system that will replace the traditional hard book driving licence and number plates that is to be introduced in Kenya.
A MICRO CHIP IN YOUR DRIVING LICENCE
The new driving card system, funded by the World Bank and Price Water House Coopers, will run on global technology and it is hoped, safeguard integrity in the state’s licensing system.
“A micro chip on the driving licence will have personal details of the owner and officials will be able to access the information through a smart card reader”, said Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli during the launch of a road safety campaign titled ‘SAFETY FIRST’.
Drivers caught flouting traffic rules will have points digitally deducted from their smart driving licences and an exhaustion of points will render a card invalid.
The new system is however in the trial stages and will be officially launched from next year.
Nduva also said that in an effort to address the issue of over speeding and lack of speed governors in commercial cars and PSV’S, which is said to be one of the chief causes of road accidents on Kenyan roads, a team of officers from The National Safety And Transport Authority, the Traffic Police Department, the Judiciary and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, will conduct a series of ‘Safety First Operations’ on compliance with the speed governor rule in various parts of the country.
In the new safety campaigns, owners and drivers of impounded cars will be arrested and charged in court so as to ensure that all players are held responsible.
BUYING A DRIVING LICENCE – IT’S EASY
Acquiring a driving licence in Kenya is not as tough an undertaking as it ought to be, thanks to corruption. You can easily buy the document from city cartels, even when you don’t have proof of basic driving skills. The outcome of this has been unqualified drivers on our roads and more accidents as a result.
On Tuesday a Daily Nation correspondent exposed how he got his driving licence in just 24 hours after parting with Sh6,700, a license that allowed him to drive all cars, lorries and matatus.
Traffic police are already using speed guns in the battle against drivers who disregard traffic laws. According to traffic police boss Samuel Kimaru, the speed gun being used by traffic officers is a new technology that will allow for audio visual recordings and still photographic evidence hence, in theory, leaving no room for corruption.
1,725 KILLED THIS YEAR
Traffic police officers in the country are known for their notorious habit of demanding ‘kitu kidogo’ from Matatu operators in order to let them off the hook when caught flouting traffic rules. Kenyans therefore have good reason to be skeptical as to whether this new technology will end the madness on our roads, or simply open a new front for traffic officers to reap more bribes – after all they will have the photographic evidence – but with official figures showing that 1,725 people have died on our roads so far this year, something has to be done.