MoPIT proposes raising minimum driving age

Kathmandu, September 17

Any person aspiring to obtain driving licence of heavy motor vehicles now may have to wait until they attain 25 years of age.

Prior to the proposed third amendment to the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, 1993, any person having attained the age of 21 years and 18 years was eligible for licence to drive truck and bus respectively. The amendment has also raised the minimum age for obtaining licence for light motor vehicles and motorcycle/scooter from 18 and 16 years to 21 and 18.

The amendment proposal was tabled by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport in the Parliament keeping in view the fact that than 25 per cent deaths in road accidents involved drivers aged 16 to 25 years.

According to Nepal Police, young drivers are three times more at risk of road accidents than drivers above the age of 25 years. The country witnessed an average of 27 accidents and five deaths every day in road accidents in the fiscal 2015/16, according to statistics. As many as 2,006 people died in road accidents in 2015/16 against 2,004 in the fiscal 2014/15.

In the last fiscal, driver’s negligence caused 7,432 road accidents followed by 1,273 due to speeding, 321 due to drink driving, 321 due to recklessness of passengers, and 226 while overtaking vehicles.

Speeding, haphazard overtaking, drink driving, carrying passengers beyond vehicle’s capacity, carelessness on the part of passengers and pedestrians, and technical breakdowns are the main causes of accidents.

“Reckless drivers can be found in all generations but youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix. The proposed raise in minimum age for obtaining licence will help reduce the rate of road accidents,” said a senior traffic police official.

Traffic cops had long urged the government to increase the existing minimum age for driving licence.

About 1.25 million people die each year in road crashes and 90 per cent of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately half of the world’s vehicles, according to the World Health Organisation. Young and novice drivers are at an increased risk of road crashes, when under the influence of alcohol, compared to older and more experienced drivers.