Private car ownership is still a relatively new concept in India. Many of the people who purchase cars are first-time buyers and inexperienced drivers. So there is a pressing need for driving education and training. Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) provides essential training for new drivers, which helps to develop India’s road culture and improve the overall road safety situation throughout the country. 

MSIL started its nationwide road safety program in 2000. Today, the program has developed into three formats – the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR), the Maruti Driving Schools (MDS) and the Road Safety Knowledge Centers (RSKC). Although the training provided by the IDTR, MDS and RSKC is similar, there are significant differences in their scale, training type and target audience.

1. The Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR)

The IDTR was first set up in partnership with the state government of New Delhi in 2000.  Today, there are six IDTRs which have been established in partnership with four state governments. The IDTRs are large-scale training institutes, which offer commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle driving training and assessment. The IDTRs cater to a large number of commercial drivers such as truckers, auto and bus drivers. They also provide education on topics such as road rage HIV/AIDS awareness and basic health care.

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2.  The Maruti Driving Schools (MDS)

The MDS are training schools for passenger vehicle drivers. MSIL has set up 207 driving schools in 125 cities. The schools cater for all drivers but are especially popular with women, as they provide female driving instructors.

3.  Road Safety Knowledge Centers (RSKC)

The RSKCs are aimed specifically at traffic violators. These centers are set up within the Traffic Police’s office and provide mandatory two-hour training to all violators, with the objective of correcting the skill or behavioral issues behind the traffic violation. MSIL’s IDTRs and MDS network has trained over 1 million people over the last 10 years, more than any other organization in the country. The company has also sponsored the training of 147,000 people from underprivileged backgrounds in the last three years. Most of the students have used their newly acquired skill to earn a living.

MSIL has established a reputation for providing excellent driving training. Indeed, in some states like Haryana, anyone who receives training under MDS is no longer required to take a driving test at the Regional Transport Office.

MSIL also promotes road safety awareness and advocacy. The awareness program is mainly targeted at school children, and is implemented through the MDS network. The message of road safety reaches out to hundreds of school children every year. The advocacy program champions road safety amongst industry bodies and the government.

But there are problems. In India, driver training is not a prerequisite for obtaining a driving license. So many drivers simply do not take driving lessons. Many of the driving schools that do exist offer sub-standard instruction with poor facilities. In addition, different state governments have different approaches towards driving training – which means regulations differ across the country.

Nevertheless, the on-going efforts of MSIL, together with state governments, police and car manufacturers and dealers, means that more and more people are receiving driving training. With the emphasis on road safety, these measures will improve the overall driving experience in India, and lead to fewer road accidents and fatalities.



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