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Digital driving licences to be issued this month

Monday January 1 2018

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (left) being taken through the registration process of the soon to be launched digital driving licence by NTSA's Francis Meja (right). The chip will store users' driving histories. PHOTO | FILE

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (left) being taken through the registration process of the soon to be launched digital driving licence by NTSA's Francis Meja (right). The chip will store users' driving histories. PHOTO | FILE 

By BONFACE OTIENO
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Drivers of public service vehicles (PSV) will from this month be issued with digital driving licences in the latest bid to curb road carnage, which claimed about 300 people in December.

“The new generation e-licence will be issued to all drivers starting this January in a phased programme and priority given to PSV vehicles,” said Transport secretary James Macharia. They will cost Sh3,000 each.

PSV drivers have been linked to most of the deadly accidents witnessed in recent months.

This has led the government to prioritise PSV drivers in the issuance of the document, which is loaded with points that get deducted every time a motorist commits a traffic offence.

Accumulation of the points would ultimately lead to withdrawal of the driving permit.

Repeat offenders will permanently lose their licences, have them confiscated temporarily, pay spot fines or be made to attend refresher driving classes.

“All drivers, particularly PSV vehicle drivers, will be retrained once more in a phased manner. This will be done in various training centres and all accredited driving schools across the country using the new competency based curriculum,” said Mr Macharia.

The new system, widely used in the West, will see each motorist’s card loaded with 20 points, which will be deducted progressively at a rate proportional to the offence committed.

Breaches like overlapping will see drivers lose a single point from their accounts over and above getting fined.

A driver will have a week or so to recover this “lost” point if he or she doesn’t commit other offences.

Serious offences like drunk driving and speeding will result in deductions of more than 10 points, fines and a raft of other disciplinary measures that could see one lose their licence for life.

The National Transport and Safety Authority will also share the information on rogue drivers with insurance firms, a move that could see such drivers’ premiums rise as they will be deemed risky clients.

“Employers will be required to check the NTSA portal for driving history before employment,” said Mr Macharia.