x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Driving test agency admitted to world body in hopes of cutting road deaths.

The RTA agency hopes to benefit from a move that is intended to cut road deaths by linking with an international testing agency.

DUBAI // The emirate's driver licensing agency has joined an international testing organisation, the first member from the Middle East, in a move that it is hoped will cut road fatalities. As a result, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) agency will benefit from the expertise and latest research of the International Commission for Driver Testing Authorities (CIECA), an umbrella organisation for testing authorities.

Its members come from 40 countries, including Germany, where Ahmed Bahrozyan, the licensing agency's chief executive, made a presentation to the CIECA congress last month. Membership will give the RTA access to a database of global practices and standards. CIECA will also be involved in determining new safety standards at the RTA. "CIECA membership offers a great opportunity of direct engagement and working side by side with world-class leaders in road safety," said Mr Bahrozyan. It would also be a chance to introduce changes that might help to reduce injury and death on the roads. Last year, 294 people were killed on Dubai's roads, down from 332 in 2007.

The licensing agency recently introduced a trial programme of driving simulators to evaluate the effectiveness of the training provided as well as the driver's performance and compliance with rules of the road. "This technology is different from other simulator technologies in that it gives the driver a realistic driving experience and enables him or her to uplift and evaluate the driving training level without posing a risk," said Mr Bahrozyan. The agency had also presented some of its current services to the CIECA including cost-saving "eco-driving" and mandatory training for those convicted of motoring offences.

The CIECA is a project partner in the European Commission's energy and transport directorate and has issued best-practice recommendations for driving qualifications in the EU. It also carries out studies and projects on road safety. eharnan@thenational.ae