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The roll out of Smart Driving Licenses for Kenyan drivers set for this month

by Milicent Atieno
Smart Driving Licenses for Kenyan

Later this month, motor vehicle drivers on the Kenyan roads will make that switch from the old driving license to the new digital driving license. This new generation of driving license is supposed to come with advanced features such as the instant fines. However, due to the ongoing court case deliberating on the legality of the instant fines, the new generation digital driving license will, for now, have that feature disabled.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) says already; there are over 100,000 smart driving licenses already prepared and awaiting distribution to the motorist. The first batch of the smart cards will be issued to new drivers who has just successfully undergone through the driving school training.

The smart Cards have Instant Fines

Although not all intended features will be present at the onset of the rollout of the new generation smart cards. That is because of the current ongoing petitions in courts trying to outlaw certain aspects of the instant fines. The NTSA says they will be activated immediately the court cases end; of course assuming the judges rule in favor of the agency.

The NTSA director general, Francis Meja said, “Instant fines are aimed at penalizing petty offenders whereby the information will be relayed to our database and fines paid ‘cashlessly’ thereby helping curb graft on our roads.”

Some aspects of the instant fines currently on hold include traffic offenses like talking on the phone while driving. Other aspects like over speeding will come into effect starting Wednesday this week. Offenders will have to pay between Ksh. 500 and Ksh. 10,000 depending on the gravity of the offense.

List of minor violations include acts such as over speeding, riding a motorbike without a helmet and other protective gear, not fastening a seat belt, driving on footpaths, pedestrians block free passage of vehicles and traveling with part of the body outside a moving vehicle.

The Digital Driving License has points

Other than the instant fines, the smart card has another very interesting feature. It comes loaded with points that are deductible every time a motorist commits a traffic offense. This point system is widely used in the developed countries where a motorist’s card gets loaded with 20 points.

Every time the motorist makes a traffic offense, the points get deducted in proportion to the offense they commit. Offences like overlapping will have the driver lose one point, while serious offense like drunk driving and over speeding will have 10 points deducted.

Repeat offenders who regularly exhaust their points will lead to a permanent loss of driving license. Each motorist will be given about a week to gain back points lost due to traffic offense committed. They can only achieve that by not committing another traffic offense.

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