New-Generation Number Plates and Smart Licences

Updated: January 20, 2014

In the next two months, there will be new-generation vehicle number plates and smart driving licences, believed to be harder to replicate or forge.

The Transport Ministry will also introduce computerised driving licenses to support a planned demerit point system for errant drivers in which those who accumulate offences over time will be barred from driving.

These are part of the transport integrated automated management system which the ministry intends to use in controlling road transport from a central point.

Transport and Infrastructure Secretary Michael Kamau said the National Transport and Safety Authority is at an advanced stage in realising this.

“In the next two months, we will start interlinking all road transport and related agencies to enable them share and process information,” said Mr Kamau.

It will not be the first time the government is considering introducing smart driving licenses. 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 to replace the current documents once the Finance Ministry signed the agreement.

The new licences were to have chips containing information such as personal identification number, contacts, past traffic offences, fines previously paid and warnings, and police officers were to be armed with devices to read information and add charge sheets to databases as necessary. Four years on, this is yet to happen.

The new development comes at a time when road accidents have shot up blamed on careless driving and poor enforcement of traffic rules.
“The use of smart licences is aimed at curbing counterfeits,” Transport principal secretary Nduva Muli said.

Mr Kamau further said that his ministry has begun developing a standard curriculum for training and testing drivers, including the licensing of driving schools.

This is expected to rein in rogue driving schools working in cahoots with corrupt police officers.



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