State to phase out red driving licence booklets in 3 years in new proposal

The government wants all drivers to switch to smart licences within three years.

According to new draft regulations from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), contained in the National Road Safety Action Plan 2024-2028, the authority says the move is part of the plan to phase out all old driving licences.

The proposal also seeks to introduce demerit points, widely used in the West to tame drivers, which will see each driver’s card loaded with 20 points that will be deducted progressively at a rate proportional to the offence committed.

“This is critical to the integrity of road safety in the future and will be accompanied by identity checks to eliminate identity fraud through the licensing system. With every Kenyan driver smart driver licence, it will be possible to administer and implement an instant fine regime and a demerit point system,” the regulations read in part.

The smart licences will have software installed to enable instant fines, but it will remain inactive until the court case is heard and decided.

“Instant fines are aimed at penalising petty offenders whereby the information will be relayed to our database and fines paid ‘cashlessly’ thereby helping curb graft on our roads,” the new proposal says.

Motorists who commit minor traffic offences such as talking on the phone while driving or exceeding the speed limit will pay instant fines ranging from Sh500 to Sh10,000.

The list of minor offences includes speeding, riding a motorcycle without protective gear, failure to wear a seat belt, pedestrians blocking the passage of vehicles, driving on footpaths and driving with any part of the body outside a moving vehicle.

Repeat offenders who have exhausted their points will lose their licence permanently, have it temporarily suspended, pay spot fines or be required to attend refresher courses.

For offences such as overlapping, drivers will lose a single point from their account on top of the fine.

A driver has about a week to regain this ‘lost’ point if he or she doesn’t commit any further offences.

Serious offences such as drunk driving and speeding will result in deductions of more than 10 points, fines and a range of other disciplinary measures that could see a driver lose their licence for life.

The NTSA will also share information on rogue drivers with insurance companies, a move that could see premiums rise for such drivers as they will be considered risky customers.

The NTSA estimates that more than 5 million registered drivers in Kenya will be hosted on its digital platform when the government withdraws the red DL booklet.

The authority is currently conducting public participation on the Draft NTSA (Operation of Commercial Service Vehicle) Regulations, 2024 and the Draft Traffic (School Transport) Rules, 2024.

Kenyans are encouraged to submit their comments on both drafts by 10 May 2024.


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