Before the end of this year Botswana will be listed among countries mostly in the developed world who have employed the use of the electronic road test system to conduct motor vehicle drivers road tests.
Explaining how the system operates, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the driver testing grounds held in Gaborone on Friday, the project contractor Bong Kwon Min, the General Manager of Neo Information Systems said the system is very effective and is time efficient. He said it has been commended by countries who are already using it like Vietnam, Russia, Malaysia, Iraq and the Republic of Georgia. The system however originates from South Korea, and is the first of its kind in Africa.
Min said the test will be conducted by installing a variety of sensors to a vehicle and to the testing ground which will then be entirely monitored and controlled by the computerized electronic test system. These sensors he says will monitor seatbelts, gears, speed and indicators. “Whenever a person makes a mistake during the test then a penalty is issued to them” said Min. According to Min, the 12 minutes test will be marked out of 100 and by international standards a person only obtain a pass when they score 70 percent and above. “The time frame and the pass mark can however be adjusted according to Botswana standards”.
The system according to Min will curb road test backlog and corruption because everything is computerized has a digital video record for future reference. He said his company will train operating engineers in Botswana who will take over the operation upon completion. The project is expected to be fully operational by August this year at a cost of roughly 2.5 million US Dollars.
For his part the Minister of Transport and Communication Tshenolo Mabeo shared Min’s sentiments saying the development comes at a time when it is highly needed mostly because currently driver testing facilities are wholly manned by officers who decides the fate of the driver alone. “In the past we have heard of corrupt practices such as people receiving bribes in order to get licences. I am very positive that with such development we shall see such practices coming to an end” the Minister said.
Among the many advantages of the system according to Mabeo, is that it will offload the burden from the candidates of finding a vehicle for testing and pay huge amounts of money just for using it as all driver testing vehicles will be provided by the government because they will be installed with gadgets that facilitates the testing. Mabeo also said the reduction in human interaction will come handy as it will promote transparency and fairness.
Minister Mabeo also expressed hope that the system will produce quality drivers who will in turn contribute to the reduction of road accidents in Botswana. The project will be first piloted in Gaborone and will be rolled to other areas of Botswana thereafter.
Currently the driver testing grounds at Maruapula and elsewhere in the country are manned by officers and hence driver testing is done manually. This, according to a press release from the ministry has often resulted in serious backlog, corruption and customer complaints.