Applicants at Regional Traffic Office in Pune, Maharashtra have been forced to take driving tests on manual transmission cars because according to a media report, out of 220 applicants at least 10 to 20 fail the driving tests.
The reason for this is thought to be those applicants who are trained in cars with an automatic transmission. An automatic car does not require the clutch to be operated by the driver as opposed to a manual transmission car, where clutch control is one of the most crucial parts in operating the vehicle safely and efficiently. Also, automatic cars only require modulation of the steering wheel, throttle and brakes with the need to select the gear occasionally. Whereas in the cars with the manual transmission not only require the operation of the above mentioned controls but in addition to this the correct gear needs to be selected frequently by expertly modulating the clutch especially at a gradient, in heavy traffic and when driving from signal to signal.
The 220 driving tests were conducted at the Institute of Driving Training and Research, Pune out of which 120 tests were conducted by Pune RTO and 100 tests by Pimpri-Chinchwad RTO. The failed applicants were all trained on automatic cars and the tests were conducted on an 8-shaped track used for turning skills and an H-shaped track with an incline and decline to test control of the driver on a gradient and to observe reverse driving skills. The result is generated via a computerised system which employs a number of sensors around the track to check the driver’s control and skill, to mark them accordingly.
The applicants have demanded the RTO for an option of taking the test on automatic cars which will require the licensing department to bifurcate the system further by issuing different licences according to the vehicles. The licensing system already employs a system for applicants who wish to be tested on separate geared and non-geared, two-wheeler.
As of now, the testing areas are not equipped with dual-control automatic vehicles so that a separate test on automatic transmission may be conducted and it is expected that the respected authorities will look into the matter soon and make the necessary amendments and try to find a solution for this issue.