Vroooom! Kenya is finally switching digital driving licences. The roll-out is expected to start later this month.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on Tuesday said 100,000 of the smart cards have been made in readiness for distribution to motorists.
The NTSA, which is progressively digitising its operations, has acquired 500 card readers to decode user information and traffic offences history, which will be recorded in a chip embedded in the card.
The card comes loaded with points to be deducted every time a motorist commits a traffic offence. Repeat offenders who will have exhausted their points will face sanctions that include, permanent loss of licence, temporary withdrawal, spot fines or attending driving classes.
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The NTSA says it is ready to go live with the new licences, which will be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The licences will have key details of the holders, including photos. “The chip stores driving histories and serves as a payment wallet connected to the Judiciary,” NTSA’s head of ICT, Fernando Wangila, is quoted by Business Daily as saying.
He said the rollout will be progressively accelerated to ensure there are more card readers and enough licences to meet demand for new applications as well as renewals.
The points system is widely used in the West to instill discipline in drivers. Each motorist’s card will be loaded with 20 points that are to be deducted progressively at a rate proportional to the offence committed.
Traffic offences like overlapping will cost a driver one point over and above getting fined. A driver will have a week or so to recover this “lost” point if he or she doesn’t commit other offences.
Serious offences like drunk driving and speeding will result in deductions of more than 10 points, fines and a raft of other disciplinary measures. The NTSA will also share the information on rogue drivers with insurance firms to punish them with higher premiums.
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The NTSA in March signed a Ksh2.1 billion contract with the National Bank of Kenya for the manufacture and formulation of the smart licences aimed at easing enforcement of traffic laws.
Dr Wangila said NBK is working with Vienna-based digital payment solutions provider Austria Card to supply an undisclosed number of the licences.
There are over three million registered drivers in the NTSA database. Over the next three years, the smart driving licences will be distributed to motorists starting with new applicants and those renewing.