Kenya Government seeks June 2017 Roll-out of Digital Driving License and Smart Number Plates

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The NTSA is a body charged with the mandate of managing the transport sector in Kenya while at the same time ensuring a reduction in the number of lives lost due to road carnage. The body has been keen on inculcating technology in its activities in a bid to improve efficiency. In 2014, NTSA announced plans to launch high-tech number plates as well as digital driving licenses in the country. The launch was slated to take place this month but a court case delayed the launch which is expected to take place in July, following an out of court settlement of the matter. The smart number plates will store among other information the car’s chassis number, the vehicle’s make, type, colour, engine, transmission, date and place of manufacture; insurance validity, owner’s.

In the digital driving licenses front, Chinese firm Huawei and local firm Copy Cat collaborated in the project under the Transport Integrated Management System (Tims). TIMS is a web portal that incorporates all functions of registration, licencing, inspection and enforcement of all motor vehicles and trailers online. The NTSA plans to use TIMS to centralise road transport data and make this data available for public use. In addition, the portal will offer intelligent traffic management by allowing tracking and monitoring of PSVs.

Lawsuits have however hampered the rollout of the smart number plates. The initial launch was slated to take place in June 2016 but a case which was later settled out of court led to postponing to July 2016. Another court case was however brought leading to another delay in the matter. The subject matter of these delays has been contractors involved in the project. Business Daily reported a while back that the current stand-off begun after a local firm was awarded a contract to supply hot stamping foils and blank number plates. Hot stamping foils are thin metallic coats placed the blank number plates.The local firm Tropical Technologies was awarded the contract despite two other firms having been previously awarded the tender.The two other firms later sued the  Public Procurement Administrative and Review Board (PPARB) seeking a reversal of the decision. The court has since ordered the process be redone afresh.

The paper now reports that the President has ordered the completion of the project by June 2017. In the directive, the president said that the move will allow for improved road safety as well as deal with corruption. The digital driving licenses will also come with a point system where users will get points deducted for various traffic offences. Once they exhaust their point system, they will then have their driver’s license confiscated for a period of time. The license will also allow for the mapping of a motor vehicle to its owner such that its easier to find lost cars or even catch traffic offenders.

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