A day after the death of a scientist in a road accident, the transport department on Tuesday decided to inspect motor training schools to find out whether they have the right cars, trained personnel and proper classrooms before renewing their licences.
Officials said the department had been planning to start the safety audit for some time, but the death of Sunil Garai, a scientist from Visakhapatnam, on Monday prompted the decision to start the process immediately.
Garai was riding a bike when he was fatally hit by a car that was being driven by a retired police officer who was learning to drive in New Garia.
The former cop was accompanied by a professional driver who was seated beside him.
From January, motor vehicles inspectors from various regional transport offices will inspect driving schools and draw up reports on the infrastructure, personnel and the vehicles being used to impart training, officials said.
The reports will also mention where the trainees are being taught driving - on training grounds or in lanes and bylanes.
Based on the recommendations, the transport department will decide whether the licence of a school will be renewed or not.
“In New Garia, the person who was learning to drive was not in a training car. This tragic incident has highlighted once again the need to take stock of the functioning of the driving schools,” said a transport department official.
“Driving lessons can’t be imparted in small lanes and bylanes and in congested places. Some schools are, however, allegedly doing so in the early hours.”
Officials said a typical training car is equipped with two sets of clutches, brakes and accelerators. One of the sets is meant for the instructor and the other for the learner. The set for the instructor is more powerful than the other.
Motor training schools have been given a syllabus — prepared by a team from IIT Kharagpur in 2017 — which has chapters on the basics of driving.
Some of the chapters dwell on topics like “know your road”, road markings, accidents and emergency intervention, first-aid and traffic fines.
“The IIT experts had told us that drivers in Bengal had skills but lacked knowledge. The audit will help us understand whether those who are graduating from the driving schools have proper knowledge of driving or not,” said an official.