Millennium Post

Now, hearing impaired too can get driving licences

In a move aimed at empowering physically challenged persons, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has directed states to consider driving licence applications of hearing impaired persons too. The decision would be a major relief to several persons keen to have driving licence as the present Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has no provision of issuing driving licence to any physically challenged person.

“As an added precaution, such persons would display stickers –both in the front and rear windscreens –indicating the driver is hearing impaired. It will help them in quickly identifying them as safety of such drivers largely depends on how other drive,” an official said.

However, the Centre has made it very clear that hearing impaired persons would not get any relaxation in the driving test. All such applicants would have to go through a stringent driving test under the actual road condition circumstances as is the case for normal individuals, said the order, which was issued to all principal secretaries/secretaries/ transport commissioners of road department of all states and UTs on Friday.

The decision in this regard was taken after the views of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the subject. The views of AIIMS’ expert panel, which came in support of hearing impaired, was also circulated to all state governments and the final decision over the subject decided after their prior consent, the official said.

“Driving is primarily a visual function with little inputs from hearing. Many developed countries give hearing impaired people the privilege of being able to drive. If a person is rehabilitated with hearing amplification (hearing aid) and can hear reasonably with the same, then there seems little reason to deprive such persons of a driving licence,” the panel had stated.

In February 2011, the Delhi High Court, on a PIL filed by the National Association of the Deaf, had observed that people with hearing impairment can also drive and if they meet the necessary criteria and qualify the test, they would be given driving licences. In 2009, the Centre had even told the Delhi High Court that they were considering issuing licence to the hearing impaired.
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