The number of people sitting their learner's driving licence at the Rossburgh testing centre has doubled since the introduction of the new streamlined computer examining system.
"It is working wonders. We've gone from testing 120 people a day to 240 and sometimes it is more," said provincial inspector Marklen Matthew, who has been demonstrating the system at a new mobile centre at this week's South African Road Federation and International Road Federation conference at the Durban ICC.
The new computerised system, which is now being rolled out and which uses touch screens, replaces the former test, where applicants hand-wrote their answers to 64 questions on the rules and signs of the road.
It aims to cut out cheating and corruption, while producing capable drivers. (The final driving test is carried on provincial transport-supplied vehicles - and they contain three cameras to monitor the proceedings).
The initiative is the brainchild of Bheki Cele, the provincial Minister of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, and Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa, the head of KZN Transport Department.
Now, other provinces and the National Department of Transport, have studied the technology and the system may well be introduced elsewhere around the country, said Colin Govender, spokesman for the KZN Department of Transport.
"KwaZulu-Natal is the leader in the use of modern technology," said Govender.
There are two South African-built mobile testing centres which will eventually be sent to rural areas, but until then the vehicles, which are pilot projects, are being used at Rossburgh - one of the biggest test centres in the country - and Pinetown to help boost the number of people sitting their learner's tests and to cut down on the backlog.
Even if people are sitting next to their friends and doing the test at exactly the same time, they will not be able to copy as their questions will be different, Matthew explained.
And as applicants have to show their ID books, which contain their thumbprints, there is no chance of qualified drivers sitting the test for their friends and relatives.
"Someone tried to sit the test for his brother last week, but obviously his thumbprint did not match up. He was charged with fraud," said Matthew.
There is enough space in the mobile centre for 13 people to sit their tests at the same time.
Delegates - road and transport experts - attending the conference from around the country have been so impressed with the mobile testing centre, they have told Matthew they want to get similar vehicles for rural areas in their home regions.
This article was originally published on page 8 of Daily News on September 14, 2006