Vehicle registrations may soon be done by automobile dealers instead of regional transport offices, and the validity of driving licences may be extended to 60 years from the present 50.
These are the recommendations of a group of state transport ministers tasked by the Centre with improving road safety and easing transport-related facilities and rules.
Another key suggestion was holding the parents of underage drivers accountable for their children’s crimes — coming in the wake of a 17-year-old Delhi boy killing a pedestrian while driving his father’s Mercedes. HT had reported on April 21 that the government was considering such a move.
India’s roads are among the deadliest in the world with 400 lives lost every day. In 2015, 1.46 lakh road accident deaths were reported.
The group, headed by Rajasthan’s Yoonus Khan, held its first meeting on Friday and suggested extending the validity of driving licences to 60 years, to be renewed every 10 years thereafter.
Currently, a licence is valid for 20 years from the date it is issued or till the holder turns 50, whichever is earlier. After that, it is to be renewed every five years.
In some states, automobile dealers are authorised to give out registration certificates, and the ministers said this could be replicated elsewhere. “The idea is to make the process customer-friendly and save people from the harassment they face at RTOs. It will also check corruption,” said Khan.
In its first interim report to Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, the group sought stiffer penalties for traffic offences such as drunk driving, underage driving, speeding. They are yet to decide on the penalties.
For the safety and comfort of those behind the wheels, the ministers sought accident insurance for drivers of transport vehicles and doing away with dress codes.
Recommendations on passenger safety included GPS and CCTVs on all public transport vehicles. “No vehicle should be registered if these safety devices are not there,” Khan said.
It also sought simpler and uniform forms for facilities such as vehicle registration and driving licence application.
“Once the ministers give their final report in June, we will discuss it with the states and start the process of amending the Motor Vehicle Act,” Gadkari said.
The draft road transport and safety bill, which proposes to computerise the transport system and bring in transparency, has been stuck for over two years and will probably need more time before it is brought before the cabinet and then Parliament. In the meantime, the ministry has decided to amend the MV Act.
BOX: THE RECOMMENDATIONS
Driving licence to be valid for 20 years or till you turn 60, whichever is earlier. To be renewed every 10 years after that
Vehicle registration at automobile dealer instead of RTO
Learner’s licence to be issued online only
Stiffer penalties for speeding, driving drunk, underage-driving, talking on mobile phone, overloading
Punishment for parents of juvenile drivers
Fitness certificate renewal after three years, then every two years — instead of current practice of two years and then every year
Accident insurance cover for transport vehicle drivers