A student enrolled for new driving license getting necessary instructions by the instructor before going on the road. As many as 1,200 applicants appear for road tests everyday, passing out at a rate of 34.38 per cent, up from 32 per cent in 2012. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf news archives

Dubai: Demand for driving licences has increased drastically in Dubai, with 126,631 passing out last year, up from 98,717 two years ago, Gulf News has learnt.

As many as 1,200 applicants appear for road tests everyday, passing out at a rate of 34.38 per cent, up from 32 per cent in 2012.

Catering to the growing demand, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is in the process of adding training centres across Dubai even as Dubai Driving Centre opened a state of the art institution in Qusais on Tuesday.

“We have seen tremendous growth in applications since early last year and we are looking to add capacity and spread the centres across different areas of Dubai. With an eye on Expo 2020 we are looking to expand further and we are in talks with some of our partners to open more branches in next two years,” Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency, said after inaugurating the 13 driving licence training centre in Dubai.

RTA partners with six private institutions to prepare applicants according to its driving standards, which were upgraded in 2012 with a unified curriculum.

According to Behroozian, the new curriculum, which applies a holistic and structured approach of training, has helped improve safety on roads as reflected by a drastic drop in accidents involving new drivers over the last two years.

“There is definite improvement in driving standards. The data supplied to us by Traffic and Roads Agency and Dubai Police suggest that there is a 90 per cent drop in road fatalities involving new drivers, while injuries have also dropped by 75 per cent, which is a significant improvement,” added Behroozian.

He said that trainees getting exposure to different driving conditions like night and highway driving, as part of the new syllabus, has helped them become better drivers.

He pointed out that though the demand has increased and the pass rate has also increased, “but that doesn’t mean we are compromising on the standards. In fact are reviewing the syllabus now and soon there will be enhancements to the syllabus wherever required.”

However, he highlighted that right now the focus is on adding capacity of the existing centres and opening new centres.

“Our primary focus is the convenience of our customers. They should have more options and the centres have to be accessible and located at convenient locations. As the area and demography of Dubai is expanding we are looking to expand our services. We are working with our partners to give more options for our customers and if need be we can even rope in new partners,” said Behroozian.

Overall, as many as 1.82 million driving licences have been issued in Dubai, with an increment by 35 per cent from last year, when RTA issued 111,212 licences.

The number of vehicles in Dubai has also increase drastically over the last two years, with Dubai registering 1.25 million vehicles last year up from 1.13 in 2012.