Those with blindness, mental health issues and limited motor skills may not be eligible to obtain a driver's licence
In the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Centre plans to enable the licensing authority to issue licences to differently abled people.
While there is no clarity on the eligibility criteria for issuing a driver's licence to differently abled people, those battling mental health issues, are visually impaired, or have limited motor skills may not be eligible for the same.
Welcoming the move, Muralidharan Vishwanath, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), sees the implementation fraught with challenges. "Despite an order by the Delhi High Court that allows deaf people to appear for a driving test, the deaf community has been denied licenses," he said.
In 2016, the Centre advised state transport departments to issue driving licences to disabled candidates if they clear all tests. However, lack of awareness and proper guidelines makes it difficult for the differently abled to approach authorities.
As per current guidelines, a differently abled person is required to pass both the written and the practical tests to obtain a driver's licence.
To obtain a driver's licence, a person is required to get his modified vehicle approved by the concerned RTO (Road Transport Office) to ensure it meets safety and emission requirements. Once approved, the person may apply for a driver's license and submit a disability certificate along with it.
Varun Khullar,28, lost his motor abilities below his spine in an accident. Post-recovery, he remodelled his Maruti Dzire into an adapted vehicle (the gear and brakes are attached to the steering wheel). When he approached his local RTO in Dwarka, the authorities were hesitant to even let him apply for a driver's licence.
"I repeatedly approached them for 15 days. They eventually said there is no provision to take the test on the ground floor and that the facility has no lift. They declined to issue a driver's licence," he said.
Khullar has been driving for over two-years with a copy of his old driver's licence and his disability certificate. When the police stop him, he produces these documents as proof.
According to disability rights activists, nearly 80 percent of disabled drivers do not have driver's licence despite the Centre's guidelines.Although the Bill aims at inclusivity in driving, it lacks a roadmap to overcome the infrastructure and systemic challenges to enable the differently abled to approach licensing authorities.Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months at 289. Use code FREEDOM.