THE deadline to exchange old driving licence for the new computerized ones has been extended to March 31, this year.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) at the Traffic Police Division Mr Johansen Kahatano said out of the 616, 349 automated licences issued - 135,721 are for class C and 480,628 for other classes.
"Compared to the number of vehicles registered under TRA, it is clear that there is a big number of drivers still using old driving licence," Mr Kahatano explained.
The exercise to introduce the automated licence was launched in October 2010, however only 616,349 automated licences had been issued by 31st December 2012, a small number compared to the 1,164,574 vehicles registered under the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).
He explained that once the March deadline is reached, the computerized system that processes the automated licences will be changed to issue licences to learners or drivers seeking for the document for the first time.
A countrywide crack down exercise on drivers still in possession of the old driving licence will be launched and those nabbed will be arraigned. "The public is called upon to use the three months to process the new automated licence, to avoid problems they will get into once the deadline passes and those in possession of new driving licence they should have them all the time for inspection," ACP Kahatano added.
He said the government introduced the new system to address problems of fake licences which have been cited as the major cause of road carnages in the country. He explained that the road traffic Act of 2002 notes that every driver must have a driving licence that goes with the type of vehicle he/she drives and it is unlawful to allow one's vehicle to be driven by a person who does not have a driving licence.
"It is also unlawful according to the road traffic act, to drive a vehicle with an expired driver's licence. So drivers whose licences have expired and those who still use the old licence should use the three months to process the automated ones," he noted.
Paul Kessy one of the drivers who owns his own taxi said if the traffic police had shown seriousness since the first deadline for drivers to have the new automated driving licence, by 2013 all drivers in the country would have exchanged their old licences for the new ones.
Herman Massawe also a taxi driver who still uses the old driving licenses said there are so many middle many at the TRA who ask for money to process the automated driving license.
"It is a long process and there are many middle men at the TRA asking for money to exchange the old driving license for the new one, I decided I would continue using the old one until it expires then go and process the new one," he explained.