According to new changes proposed by the Transport Ministry for the motor vehicle rules, teenagers between 16 and 18 years of age will be able to obtain a licence for electric scooters with a maximum restricted speed 70 km/h. The ministry says that the move has been brought about to end the menace of young riders in the said age group indulging in speeding and rash driving. The electric scooters legal for 16-18 year-olds will have a motor that makes a maximum of four kilowatts.
Under the current law, 16-18 year-olds are only allowed to ride two-wheelers powered by a 50cc engine, however, the smallest engine displacement available in India is 100cc.
So far, it was not required for such young riders to obtain a licence for gearless electric scooters since these scooters were exempted. Now though, the government is categorising such scooters as 'light two-wheeled powered vehicle' and hence a driving licence will be mandatory for using them. These two-wheelers will also require valid licence plates.
The move comes as a positive change to the Indian traffic system since 16-18 year-olds will be able to obtain a driving licence which should help them better understand the rules and laws. However, parents must be watchful and make sure their children are using a good helmet at least with an ISI standard mark.
In May this year, there were reports that the government was considering a proposal to grant a driving licence to 16-18 year-olds for riding automatic scooters with 100cc engines. The move came after considering the growing trend of underage people riding such two-wheeler which is so far illegal under the current law.
In related news, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced that it is no longer required for drivers to carry physical copies of their driving licence and registration certificate. Under the new provision, road-users can now present a digital copy of the documents using applications like the Central government's Digi-Locker (available for both, Android and iOS).