16-year-olds may get 2-wheeler licenses:
YOU could get a license to drive your dream bike even before you cast a vote. The Centre plans to reduce the minimum age to drive a two wheeler from 18 to 16 years.
This is not all. If you are a foreign national living in India, you don’t need to depend on the international driving license you could get an Indian one. These are some of the proposed amendments to make the Motor Vehicles Act,1988,in sync with changing times. The expert committee, appointed by ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) last year under former road transport secretary S Sundar to examine amendments to the Act,has finalised its report and proposed landmark changes.
According to ministry sources,some of the major amendments have been proposed to Chapter II of the Act on Licensing of Drivers of Motor Vehicles. After a number of representations pointed out that teenagers in most cities drive scooters and bikes in their early teens,the committee has decided to lower the minimum age to drive any type of two-wheeler to 16 years.Sources said that reducing the age for even private cars was considered by the committee but it did not find support and is now off the agenda.
The committee has also proposed amendment to include requisite provisions for a person with disabilities.A senior member of the committee said,We see some people with 80% hearing loss applying for driving licenses and getting them.We need to strengthen these provisions to include basic physical requirements for applying for a licence. Exact physical conditions required to drive a motor vehicle would be mentioned.
Driving licence as a document could also see changes.At present,a licence specifies nine broad types of vehicle categories.This list will be expanded and the licence would include what specific type and class of light,heavy or passenger vehicle the licence holder can drive.In case of passenger vehicle,the licence would clearly mention if the driver can drive any vehicle carrying school children or what would be the passenger capacity would it be a mini bus or any six or eight axle truck.To bring about a sense of responsibility among passenger and transport vehicle drivers,the government would makerefresher course mandatory at the time of renewal of licence.
It also plans to streamline the process of granting and renewing driving licences.Sometimes,drivers are caught unawares by expiration of their driving licence.A grace period of at least six months would be given for renewal.There would also be regulations for private drivers training schools.An expert in the committee said,at present,there are a number of drivers training schools that have mushroomed without adequate infrastructure and badly maintained cars.There is a need to check these and set some minimum standards for operation.
The expert committee has finalised its recommendations which also include a new penalty system.Penalties for most offences like rash and negligent driving and using mobile phones or I-Pods while driving have been enhanced manifold.Other offences like drunk driving have a graded system of punishment,which means that the penalty would depend on the amount of alcohol in the blood.
MoRTH is now in the process of writing down the final report. According to sources, a law firm could be hired for this as the ministry does not want to take any chances with the proposed amendments. After the report is submitted to minister Kamal Nath,it will be sent for vetting to the law ministry.