LAHORE - At least 954 women are among 2,100 students who successfully have passed their driving test in Lahore under the “trained drivers, safe roads” initiative.

The women leaner drivers outperformed their male counterparts during the driving test as the weeks-long training course concluded at the police driving schools, last week. Officials said the women proved safer drivers as compared to their male competitors.

In Lahore, at least six driving schools have been imparting road safety education and training to new drivers as part of the project, a joint-venture of the city traffic police department and the Punjab technical education and vocational training authority.

Chief Traffic Officer Rai Ejaz Ahmad termed the initiative as a milestone in the history of the Punjab province. During a brief chat with The Nation on Tuesday, the officer said the learner drivers were given training at the police driving schools in Lahore. Following the training course, the successful drivers were handed over driving licences and certificates.

The traffic officers trained the learner drivers in different fields including road safety education, traffic laws, and general awareness. “The focus of this training course was to educate the new drivers about the importance of road safety measures and traffic discipline,” the officer explained.

This is a win-win situation, he said, both for the candidates and the traffic officers. “This initiative will not only help us produce trained drivers but also the youth will be able to get job opportunities especially in the private sector,” Rai Ejaz Ahmad said.

Early this year, the city traffic police department enrolled hundreds of leaner drivers including women at different driving schools to promote safe driving in Lahore. Almost half of the candidates who joined the training course were women. The winners were given certificates and driving licences at a special ceremony held at the Al-Hamra Hall on Tuesday. Chief Traffic Officer Rai Ejaz Ahmad, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tahir Javed, traffic officers, and several members of the business community were also present on this occasion.

The ceremony was arranged after the 4th batch of leaner drivers comprising of 1108 men and 994 women successfully completed their training at the driving schools under the “trained drivers, safe roads” project.  While addressing to the participants of the ceremony, CTO Rai Ejaz Ahmad said that the police department had launched the initiative to ensure safe driving on the city roads.

“Under this the program, free training about driving, traffic laws, and electrical and mechanical works of the vehicles was imparted to the students. Six driving schools in collaboration with Tevta were established in different parts of the city where citizens can get enrolled to join the training course within two months.”

He said that hundreds of precious lives are lost and thousands of people receive fatal injuries because of road accidents every year in this province. “Lack of training and awareness among drivers is one of the main reasons behind fatal accidents, he said.

The “trained drivers, safe roads” project is contributing much in promoting safe driving and traffic awareness. He also said the police department was planning to establish more driving schools in Lahore since a large numbers of applicants are willing to join the classes.

President Lahore Chambers of Commerce Malik Tahir Javed said that they wished more drivers were trained for commercial driving so that they could earn their livelihood. He lauded the efforts of the traffic police department for providing experienced trainers to the newcomers at the driving schools.

The students also expressed their pleasure after winning the driving test. One of the female drivers, Saba Iftikhar said that she was feeling confident and happy as she was no more dependent on others for her mobility.