Koforidua, March 5, GNA - The Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) would from August introduce driver's license in the form of durable cards with in-built security safeguards to replace those issued in 2000.
Consequently, drivers whose licenses expire in August would receive the new ones, while new applicants from that period would also get the credit-card-like license.
Mr Joe Osei-Owusu, Chief Executive of DVLA, who announced this, explained that the measure would speed up the process of issuing licenses and eliminate the possibility of imitation to safeguard the integrity of licenses.
Addressing DVLA's first quarter general meeting of 2006, at Koforidua, Mr Osei-Owusu said a registration programme would this month begin to assign distinctive numbers to motorcycles to distinguish them from other motor vehicles.
This would stop the practice of embossing number-plates of motor cycles on vehicles, a practice that enabled owners of unregistered vehicles evade taxes and avoid the mandatory registration requirements. Additionally, Mr Osei-Owusu said DVLA would start the automation of its registration system before the end of the year because its sponsor, the World Bank, had given its approval under the Road Sector Development Programme.
These measures were generally aimed at improving the quality of the Authority's delivery to the public, improve its image and instill confidence in its products he explained and urged the public to support DVLA by not patronising the services of middlemen.
Phase one of the automation exercise would cover the Accra and Tema offices and is expected to rid registration procedures of irregularities and unnecessary delays.
Mr Osei-Owusu said the second p hase would cover the rest of the country, while the third phase would be used to network the country. The entire exercise would last for six month. Additionally, public records were being converted into electronic database for fast and efficient documentation and retrieval. Experts have cited weaknesses and irregularities in the vehicle registration system as contributing to unqualified individuals securing driving licenses thereby increasing the incidence of motor accidents in Ghana.
Last year the authority recorded 16,216 road accident cases out of which 811 involved fatalities Mr Osei-Owusu demanded impeccable service from the staff to ensure that the replacement exercise was not fraught with any difficulties. He said: "Our integrity is at stake and we don't have to compromise on standards. We are worth the value of our products and if we undermine their integrity we destroy ourselves. "Therefore, we should not issue road worthy certificates to vehicles we have not inspected. Let our conscience guide us at all times because our failures would destroy lives."
Mr Osei-Owusu urged staffers to make critical contributions to enrich the proposals submitted by Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to restructure the Authority for enhanced conditions of service, scheme of service and service delivery. The Minister of Road Transport, he noted, would soon submit a memo to Cabinet towards the implementation of legislation and activities that would enable DVLA to realise its potentials as an Authority.
Dwelling on some statistics, Mr Osei-Owusu said the Authority collected some 59 billion cedis as revenue last year, which was a shortfall of five per cent against the previous year's.
However, he noted, the shortfall was because it did not receive revenue from replacement of licenses as the exercise had ended. During the period under review, the Authority inspected some 461,843 vehicles as compared to 442,885 inspected in 2004. The exercise was to assess compliance by vehicle owners to registration regulations, identify fictitious documents and to alert vehicle owners to acquire genuine documents.
Mr Osei-Owusu noted that 40 per cent of vehicles either possessed fake certificates or were unregistered.
A total of 43,949 applicants wrote the driver-testing test with 23, 413 passing, representing failures of 47 percent For the In-Traffic Test, 34,403 applicants passed out of 40,903, a faliur rate of 15 percent.
The in-traffic tests include drivers who possessed foreign licenses and were excluded from the written tests and those who had undertaken the written tests much earlier, hence the seeming discrepancy in the figures.
"This demonstrate that DVLA is not just passing people, but taking the issue of safety very seriously," he commented.
He, however, explained that there was no deliberate effort to fail people because that would give room for leaking questions, which had so far been successfully prevented.
At the end of the year, DVLA had certified 47 driving schools across the country.
Mr C.W Musah, Director of Driver Training, Testing and Licensing advised DVLA technical officers to help driving schools to build their capacity and ensure that every driving school had at least two instructors that had been trained by DVLA.
He said they should, however, not assist those who failed their traffic tests because that would be tantamount to aiding them to cause accidents to kill. March 5 06