Truck and bus drivers will soon have to undergo training in fuel efficient driving at the time of applying for a new or renewed driving license.
Beginning April 2018, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has proposed a training programme for drivers of heavy commercial vehicles to help them save fuel while driving which would include classroom lessons and driving performance tests.
The drivers will be required to attach the training certificate at the time of applying for a license for driving heavy goods vehicle or heavy passenger motor vehicle, according to a draft notification to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, dated February 21. According to the proposal, a driving performance test will be conducted first to evaluate fuel efficiency “in terms of kilometre or litre by using suitable set up and test procedure.”
Additionally, the applicant will have to undergo classroom training on importance of fuel efficiency “consisting of discussion on drawbacks or shortcomings or negative points as well as encouraging or worthy or positive or good habits noted or observed during initial driving test.”
After the classroom or on-site training is complete, there will be another driving performance test to evaluate the improvement in fuel efficiency. The driving test will be conducted on a five-kilometre-long road with at least three speed breakers, according to the proposed notification.
Following the test, a certificate will be issued by the driving school.
A senior Road Transport and Highways Ministry said that it may rope in Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), which is under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, to provide fuel efficiency training to bus or truck drivers.
The PCRA has been conducting a three-day driver training programme for heavy motor vehicles since 1985. The PCRA has trained 1.70 lakh drivers till 2010 and claims it led to fuel savings worth ₹650 crore.
“We are in favour of imparting basic training to transport drivers on fuel efficiency,” said S.P. Singh, a senior fellow at the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT).
“However, we also feel that the government should increase the minimum education qualification for commercial vehicle drivers and only after that proper training should be given to them on road safety and fuel efficiency.”