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Ministerial panel to decide on penalty for underage drivers

Ministerial panel to decide on penalty for underage drivers
To check minors taking control of the wheels, a ministerial panel will decide on stricter penalties for underage drivers and their custodians in the proposed new road safety Bill.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Yunus Khan, Minister for Transport, Rajasthan and comprising state transport ministers will decide on penalties for driving by minors, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday. The GoM which is scheduled to meet here on April 29 will deliberate on all aspects and will propose penalties for such offences and subsequently a wider consultation will be done, he said.

The development assumes significance as minor drivers had caused over 19,000 accidents in 2014. The number of accidents by such drivers was 21,496 in 2013 and 20,110 in 2012. 

The new road safety Bill could not be introduced in Parliament as some states have opposed it saying it encroached on their financial rights.

In order to address this concern as also to bring in a stricter road safety regime, a meeting of state transport secretaries and stakeholders was held here on April 22 to provide inputs for the April 29 meeting.

“All states are on board as far as issues like preventing minors from driving vehicles, curbing drunken driving and simplification of forms for transfer of vehicles are concerned. The bone of contention is taxation. The meeting today decided to concentrate on road safety issues,” an official said.

The final decision on the Bill will be taken in the meeting and based on that, consent from states will be sought as the issue falls under concurrent list.

Gadkari recently said: “Despite our best efforts, the Bill which we made could not be introduced in Parliament. This is a difficult problem for us.” 
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