…..Over Commercial Drivers Strike
The Ministry of Transport, through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), has offered an unqualified apology to Ghanaians over the decision by some disgruntled commercial transport operators to strike in Accra and other parts of the country.
On Monday, a group of commercial drivers under the umbrella of Committed Drivers Association, held the nation to ransom over the decision by DVLA not to issue licenses to illiterate drivers starting June 1, 2015.
Speaking at a press conference to douse the effect of the strike, attended by the Executive Director of National Roads Safety Commission, Madam May Obri- Yeboah, Director -General of Police Motor Traffic Transport Department (MTTD), and Mr Rudolf Beckley, Chief Executive Officer of DVLA.
Addressing the media, Mr Beckley said, under normal circumstance, the association should have presented a petition to the relevant agencies in order to adequately address their concerns.
Among the issues raised by the commercial drivers are the DLVA preventing illiterates from driving, the introduction of a compulsory driving course for potential drivers, the newly introduced electronic roadworthy sticker, the installation and use of seat belt in all sitting positions in vehicles and the introduction of the
private vehicle test stations.
He said, the issue of preventing illiterates from driving, was part of the assessment of drivers which begun before 2003 and it took the form of an oral test and it was followed by in- traffic test.
In 2004, DVLA introduced the written test, but had the onerous task of translating the questions to the applicants who could not read and write thereby defeating the integrity of the test he explained
He added the authority continued with reforms until 2007 when the translation of questions ceased with applicants reading the questions on their own.
He said, along the line after its introduction, it was fraught with a lot of allegations pertaining to distrust, corruption, favouritism among others.
To address these concerns, the authority introduced a new test regime that would meet international standards albeit the computer -based theory test in 2014.
He said the authority, as part of its processes for futures, will streamline the examination process in line with concerns of transport unions by introducing a touch screen facility that would also help translate the questions into the following local languages: Ga, Ewe, Twi, Hausa and English to help applicants to answer the questions in their own language.
He noted the concerns raised by the demonstrating drivers have to do with the electronic roadworthy stickers, giving the difficulties the authority has faced in the past in managing the old regime of stickers.
A decision was taken to introduce the electronic stickers that could store vehicle information for easy verification by the law enforcement agencies.
He explained the new sticker unlike the old one is machine readable and anyone who attempt faking it would make officials Police MTTD effect arrest of offenders.
He appealed to the drivers to remain calm, whilst steps are taken to educate them on the new processes being rolled out by the authority.