State to slow down under-18 speed devils

A proposed amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act will prevent teenagers under the age of 18 from obtaining special licences, which permit them to drive gearless 50 cc two-wheelers


For all the under-18 adrenaline-junkies who have special licences that help them indulge their need for speed, it might soon be time to slow down.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed an amendment in the existing Motor Vehicles Act, which will disallow any individual below the age of 18 to obtain licences, even for two-wheelers like 50 cc gearless mopeds.

Ayazuddin, son of Mohammad Azharuddin, died in a road accident when he lost control of his sports bike last month

The Act in its present form, allows 16-year-old teenagers to obtain special licences, which permit them to drive two-wheelers with engine capacity of 50cc or below, provided a parent or guardian signs on the application form.

The amendment is part of an effort to curb the number of accidents involving teenage bikers in the city, which has been on the rise recently. "Very few manufacturing companies produce 50cc bikes nowadays, as the demand for these vehicles has dwindled," said a senior official from the Transport department.

The revision was advocated by a number of highly placed officials in the Transport Ministry at the centre, and there are high chances that the amendment will be enforced soon.

Once the diktat is implemented, no individual under the age of 18 can obtain driving licences, even to ride gearless scooters. "Post-amendment, the age-bar for procurement of licences would be raised to 18 years, for bikes as well as four-wheelers," said an RTO official on condition of anonymity.

Transport department officials from all states across the country met in the Capital yesterday, in order to discuss the details of this amendment. Confirming that the meeting had taken place, Maharashtra Transport commissioner VN More said, "Some changes are taking place in the Motor Vehicles Act."

Deadly drive
At the annual Road Safety Drive in January this year, Home Minister RR Patil conceded that the state of Maharashtra records the highest number of road fatalities in the country. Last month, former cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin's son, 19-year-old Ayazuddin, succumbed to injuries sustained in a road accident, when he lost control of his sports bike.

Did you know?
In 2010, around 8,000 youths under the age of 25 years died in road accidents, in Maharashtra.

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