This week I have read reports that National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is on the verge of issuing the new and improved driving licenses (DL). The driving license is said to be smart with an inbuilt chip that contains the driver’s information. This information includes name of the driver, photo, driver’s license details, date of birth and ID number plus the driver’s blood group which would be of immense help in the event of an accident.
Here are some of the reasons why I am excited about the new driving license;
1. Easier to carry around
The design of the driving license that we have at the moment dates back to the 1900’s making it over 100 years old. As expected with such an old design, it is not easy to carry around and hence one has to leave it in the car where it can easily get lost. I say this because my driving license mysteriously disappeared after a visit to a car wash because as per kawaida I had left it in the car.
The new driving license is the size of an identity card and can therefore easily fit into a wallet reducing the chances of it getting lost, being left at home or say in another car.
Renewing a driving license will now be as simple as making a payment against your driving license number using mobile money. This will save one the hustle having to go online and logging into eCitizen to renew the same. I have to admit we have come a long way from making trips to KRA to renew a DL, to doing it in banks, on eCitizen and now this.
The card will also have an integrated mobile wallet that will come in handy when making payments for spot fines due to traffic violations. Other than saving driver’s time that they would have spent in court rooms, it will also reduce the incidences of corruption whereby Police frustrate traffic offenders so that they can bride to be set free.
3. Reign in rogue drivers
This mostly applies to PSV drivers who have formed a habit of harassing other motorists on the road as if they have right of way. They will be found overlapping, over speeding and cutting off other drivers all in a bid to beat traffic. In the process, they have been known to cause accidents that have maimed and killed many Kenyans.
The new DL has a points system whereby every week you are given points and any offense committed during the week leads to the deduction of these points. This is done via a POS system that will be in use by Police and NTSA. This will create a track record of your driving habits with serial offenders even being banned from driving. The manual system that exists currently has enabled killer drivers to continue driving something which is unjust but also poses a risk to other road users.
4. Prevent fraud
In the past, one could get a DL easily through corruption without going to driving school. This has resulted in many accidents as these drivers are untrained. This is however set to change as not only can the new DL be validated using a POS but it also has security features.
The current DL is easy to forge as it does not have any security features that one can speak of. I am actually suspecting that whoever took my DL just went, changed the picture which was affixed using glue and continued using it.
5. Cheaper insurance premiums
Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS) is a platform by the NTSA that holds all the data on car registration and ownership. It is on this system that NTSA has started accumulating information on drivers which has seen DL renewal and application taken online.
Data on drivers and their driving habits courtesy of the points system will be available on this platform and will be accessible to third parties like insurance firms. This will see good drivers who score highly get cheaper insurance premiums as they are deemed a low risk. Those who score lowly due to point deductions will get higher premiums as they are deemed high risk.