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Understanding Kerala's New Driving Test Regulations

The Kerala Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has recently implemented updated regulations for driving license tests, bringing significant changes to the testing process. While these regulations have faced challenges, understanding their implications is crucial for all prospective drivers.

Issued on April 4, 2024, the MVD's circular introduces amendments to the conditions for obtaining a driving license. Under the new regulations, applicants are required to undergo various real-life driving challenges and demonstrate competency to obtain a license. The road test now takes place on public roads with traffic, incorporating assessments such as angular parking, parallel parking, zig-zag driving, and gradient testing, followed by an 'H' test on the ground.

Furthermore, the regulations impose limitations on the number of driving tests conducted daily, allowing only 30 tests, including 20 new applicants and 10 from previous failed attempts. Specific criteria are also set for two-wheeler licenses, restricting eligibility to motorcycles with gear pedals and engine capacities above 95 cc. Notably, electric or automatic cars are not permitted for the driving test.

To ensure transparency and accountability, driving schools are required to install dashboard cameras and vehicle location tracking devices on test vehicles. Instructors must record the test using the camera, with the recording submitted to the Motor Vehicles Inspector and transferred to the MVD's system. Additionally, driving schools must retain the memory card containing the recording for three months.

One notable aspect of the new regulations is the prohibition of cars older than 15 years for driving tests. While these measures aim to enhance safety and standardized testing procedures, they have sparked controversy. Opponents, including the Kerala Motor Driving School Instructors and Workers Associations, have challenged the regulations in the Kerala High Court, citing concerns over the financial burden of compliance, especially the requirement to replace older vehicles with newer ones.

Critics argue that the government's decision to implement these regulations hastily imposes undue restrictions and conditions on driving schools and applicants. Despite these challenges, the MVD stands by its commitment to improving road safety and ensuring the competency of licensed drivers.

As the debate over Kerala's new driving test regulations continues, prospective drivers and driving schools must stay informed about the evolving requirements and adapt accordingly to navigate the licensing process effectively.

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