Botswana Minister of Transport and Communications, HON. Thulagano M. Segokgo

Last week Botswana launched the computerized driver testing ground known as the Intelligent Driver Testing System on. Speaking during the media tour of the facility, the minister of transport and communications the honourable Thulagano M. Segokgo said the facility, which is fully computerised with checks and balances to eliminate corrupt practices, reduce human error or manipulation, facilitate free, fair and transparent testing, was a first in Botswana and Africa.

He added that the facility entails full computerization of the testing ground with all the driving disciplines in the yard test (closed area) conducted through the computer.

“For the road test, majority of the test parameters are computerized, leaving only a few non-automated ones, subject to manual input such as learner driver observations and response to emergency situations. Given the setup of this testing facility, government-owned vehicles fitted with computerised gadgets linked to the system are used to facilitate driver testing for candidates at no cost,” he said.

The technology employed in the testing facility originates from South Korea, he said. “This technology is currently in use and fully utilised in some of the highly industrialised countries such as the Republic of Georgia, Russia, China and Malaysia and has proven to be effective. In Africa, very soon Rwanda would be launching the same testing facility like Botswana,” he said.

He added that the first batch of driver candidates had already used the facility, and would act as its ambassadors. He implored other driver training providers such as Botswana Police and Botswana Defence Force to also adopt the same technology to enhance driver competency in the country.

Part of a bigger plan

The honourable Segokgo said the facility which embraces the 4th Industrial Revolution, was conceived as a result of government strategic intentions outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy, he said

The building of the computerised driver testing facility was a conscious and deliberate decision by the government of Botswana to improve driver training and testing in that country, with an ultimate goal to improve driver competence so as to reduce road traffic accidents which continue to claim lives on their roads, the honourable Segokgo said.

“This facility comes at a critical time where there is a global need to improve driver competency through the use of standardized driver training as well as the use of objective and fair assessment systems and practices as per the United Nations strategic initiative to reduce road traffic accidents and their associated socio economic impact,” he said.

“This testing facility, among other initiatives already in place, is deemed necessary to meet such objectives as it is fully computerised with checks and balances to eliminate corrupt practices, reduce human error or manipulation, facilitate free, fair and transparent testing and in the overall, improve operational efficiency and customer service,” he said.

He added that the facility was constructed in line with the United Nations Global plan for Road safety, which called upon Governments to develop and implement strategies geared towards reducing road crashes by half by the year 2020.

“The Botswana Government, as a signatory to the agreement, is no exception and therefore it is my belief that this driver testing system will greatly assist us as a country in improving both our driver testing processes and training in general,” he added.

He also said with regret that from January 2020 to October 2020, Botswana had already lost 230 people on the due roads due to reckless driving. In some instances, the traffic accidents analysis showed that drivers involved were at fault, he said. This was a cause for concern and thus called for everyone to make a  concerted effort at local, national, regional and international levels to address this grave situation.

In order for Botswana to realize their goal of reducing road crashes and fatalities, he said, they had begun to implement, robust initiatives under the auspices of the National Road Safety Strategy and the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

The Strategy initiatives are still relevant post- 2020, as the UN has extended the period by another 10 years, he said. “We believe at the end of this period we will have realized our aspiration of have a safe and secure country,” he said

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