Many Drivers Unlicensed

Drivers and motorists

A story in this edition about the staggering ratio of licensed motorists to those who are not, speaks volumes about why our roads especially highways remain carnage sites.

Something is definitely wrong with a country in which 61 percent of those who drive are licensed to do so.  If the reason for the authorization to drive is to ensure that motorists do not endanger lives and properties, it presupposes therefore that the picture posted by the story under review is frightening.

Many factors account for this unacceptable reality: the most outstanding being corruption. The rot in the licensing process is an old reality with the so-called intermediaries or ‘goro boys’ playing a key role in lubricating the anomaly.

Driving licenses and related vehicle documentations have become synonymous with corruption and for many years nothing substantial was done by successive governments to reverse the unacceptable trend.

It is obvious from this story that most accidents have occurred and continue to do so because we have persons who are unqualified to drive yet sit behind the wheels of passenger vehicles. It is lamentable that we allow this anomaly to persist even as we read on daily basis about fatalities through avoidable road accidents.

Those who facilitate this situation should share in the blame for the deaths of family breadwinners and sometimes young persons, because had they done their work well by ensuring that only licensed persons drive vehicles, the fatalities could have been obviated.

Thankfully the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has touched the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) with his magic wand and things are hopefully going to witness a major turnaround.

The paperless feature, as he has hinted, would change the face of the DVLA especially in the acquisition of drivers’ licences. This is good news.

When an expedited system exists to make the acquisition of such licences devoid of encumbrances, the work of the goro boys would grind to a halt as a result of the disincentive so provided.

Paperless transactions introduce civility in the operations of public services and should be encouraged by all means. We are aware about how those who benefit from the old order would fight tooth and nail to maintain it.

Societies must grow and leave old and antiquated ways behind them. That is why the novelty being introduced at the DVLA is exciting. We shall watch the unfolding trends at the Authority’s various units with a view to proffering queries and recommendations where necessary so the desired objectives would be achieved.

For the umpteenth time – we call on the authorities to consider appropriate legislation about the qualification especially of persons who should be licensed to drive commercial vehicles. Such drivers must fall within a certain age bracket and experience of driving such grade of vehicles.

It would also be necessary to demand a minimum level of literacy for those who intend to become professional drivers. It is unacceptable if professional drivers cannot read basic road signs.

Those who are unlicensed to drive yet do so must face stiff penalties.