The push to introduce digital driving licences this year to curb corruption and boost road safety received a lift after the Treasury allocated Sh300 million in the proposed national budget.
The allocation will kick-start the procurement of the digital licences that are expected to ease monitoring of motorists’ driving history and ultimately curb accidents and improve enforcement of traffic laws.
According to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), most road accidents are caused by drivers who don’t comply with road regulations by committing offences such as speeding.
The smart licence will help combat corruption in the transportation sector. “The new card will also act like a bank card so that drivers will be able to pay for driving fines virtually, eliminating the need for cash transactions,” said an NTSA official, adding that drivers will be able to renew their cards online.
The licences will have embedded chips containing information such as personal identification number, contacts, past traffic offences, fines previously paid and warnings. Traffic police officers will have devices to read the information and add charge sheets to the database as necessary.
The cards will come with preloaded points and every time a driver commits a traffic offence, the points will be deducted to a point of automatically suspending the licence, the road transport regulator said.
It would enable law enforcement agencies reduce common traffic offences such as speeding, overlapping, and dangerous overtaking through monitoring of car numbers and stickers, it added.
The new generation driving licence will also help insurance firms determine the premium drivers will pay by reviewing their records.
It will not be the first time the government is considering introducing smart driving licences. In 2009, the ministry identified a consortium to supply second-generation driving licences.
M/S Semlex Europe SA and Compulynx Limited of Belgium were expected to begin work on the new generation cards once agreements were signed by the Treasury.
In a bid to boost the air transport sector, the Treasury also plans to allocate Sh2.6 billion for the upgrade of Malindi, Isiolo and Lokichogio airports as well as Suneka Airstrip. For the safety of ferries, Treasury has set aside 200 million for their maintenance.