Didn’t renew driving licence for a year? Take learner’s test

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MUMBAI: If you fail to renew your driving licence within a year of its expiry, you will now have to start again from scratch. You will be treated as a new learner and have to apply for a computerised 20-mark test for a learner’s licence and wait for 30 days for the permanent licence driving test. At present, those driving with an expired licence face a fine of Rs 500.

Regional transport officer Abhay Deshpande said, “We have to abide by the Motor Vehicles (amendment) Act. Maharashtra has started implementing it at all 50 RTOs.” He said such applicants will not get “special treatment” and will have to queue up with other new applicants, mainly youngsters, for a learner’s licence. “The wait for a month for a permanent licence test will also not be waived,” he said.

Some are fuming over the rule as they will have to take learner’s test again despite being seasoned drivers.
‘Now, I have to go back to square one’

Deepak Kulkarni, whose licence expired more than a year back, said, “I have been driving for nearly 15 years, following all rules. There has not been a single fine against me, but now I am being treated as a new applicant, and have to go back to square one.”
RTOs will again tell you to upload documents, including identity and residence proof, and take biometrics. “As many are unaware of the new rule, we have told all driving schools to create awareness,” said a deputy RTO.
However, you can now get a driving licence from anywhere in Maharashtra by submitting original proof of residence of your native town and Aadhaar card. “Similarly, if you have booked a car in Mumbai, you can get it registered at city RTOs, providing address of your native/home town anywhere in the state. Earlier, you had to go to the district to get the vehicle registered under your home address,” he said.
Sources said some people buy imported vehicles here during Dussehra and get them registered at Andheri RTO, with addresses of places like Akluj in Solapur district. The home town address will be reflected in the RC (registration certificate) smart card.
Motorists welcomed this, saying that often people have migrated to Mumbai from other cities/towns in the state and want a new licence. “You will not have to bother going back to your home town,” said Amit Sathe, who hails from Nagpur, but works here.
The minimum educational qualification to drive a transport vehicle has also been scrapped and applications for addition of other classes or descriptions of motor vehicles to a person’s driving licence will now be online.
The transport department has liaised with National Informatics Centre (NIC) to update the rules. Implementation of hefty penalties under the new Act was kept on hold by the state transport ministry before elections, and will be up for review after the new government is formed in November, sources said. The state is likely to come up with a new list of “compounding fines” which RTO or traffic police can levy on offenders.
The amended Act also allows applications for recording change of residence or place of business in vehicle registration certificates online.
The new law has also broadened the definition of “dangerous driving” to include acts considered dangerous to the public, such as jumping a red light, violating a stop sign, use of hand-held communication devices while driving, driving against flow of traffic, and passing or overtaking motor vehicles, contrary to law.
It gives power to state governments to regulate activities of pedestrians and non-motorised road-users in a public place too. Every child above four, being carried on a motorcycle, must now wear a helmet. The law holds road contractors, consultants or concessionaires accountable for faulty road design, construction and maintenance, and failure to do so attract a fine of up to a lakh.