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Consequences of Driving Without Valid License in India

Driving can be fun but it is highly important to obey law and abide by the law. Driving without a license when combined with other offenses such as drunk driving, without seatbelt driving, speeding, etc., can increase the fine or penalty and even the imprisonment term. Expired car insurance leads to the movement of the car on the road without any valid insurance which is against the law.

Consequences of driving without valid licence

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Driving without a valid license is illegal but also dangerous. It may lead to severe consequences such as fines, jail time, and even the suspension of your driver's license. You can be charged with driving without a valid driver's license in three different ways:

  • Driving while your driver’s license is suspended
  • Driving while your permit has expired
  • Driving while you have never been issued a permit or driver’s license.

Table of Contents:

What are the Consequences of Driving without a Valid License?

Driving a car or any other vehicle gives a thrill to the riders but it is equally important to ensure that the traffic rules are followed while driving a car. Driving a car requires skill as well as the presence of mind, so it is of utmost importance to have a valid license before driving the vehicle in public places. But many people in India learn to drive on public roads with their own/ family owned vehicles sometimes without a proper instructor.

After learning the car it is important to apply for the Learning license where you would be asked to demonstrate your driving capability and the issuance of a license depends on your ability to drive the vehicle. In many cases, people skip taking their license and drive the vehicles on road causing damage to them as well as the opposite parties.

Let us understand the consequences of driving a vehicle without a valid driving license. As per the Indian Motor Tariff created by the Government of India, it is mandatory for every 4 wheeler car insurance to have at least a valid third party insurance to ply on the Indian roads.

1. Penalty / Fine

Driving a vehicle without a valid license can attract a penalty or fine up to Rs.5000 which has been increased from Rs.1000. The fine for driving despite the disqualification of a driving license has been increased to Rs.10k. Driving license is a document given to the driver stating that he/she has passed the driving test and is eligible to drive the vehicle on public roads.

2. Imprisonment

In addition to the penalty or fine, you may also be imprisoned for up to 3 months in jail. This imprisonment can be in addition to a fine in some cases.

*As per the Motor vehicles act whoever drives motor vehicles or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be driven without a valid license shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to 3 months, or a fine which may extend to Rs.1000, or with both.*

This means that parents or guardians can also be punished under the motor vehicles act if they permit their children to drive a vehicle without a valid driving license.

3. Third party accidents & Claims

Any vehicle driven by a driver without a valid license is not eligible for a claim under the insurance as per the motor vehicles act. If you drive your car without a valid license and cause an accident to happen, then the third party claims which arise as a result of the accident are not covered by your insurance company. All such claims will be rejected by the insurance company and any damages to the third party have to be paid by you failing which may result in imprisonment.

4. Seizure of vehicle

Driving a vehicle without a valid license can result in the seizure of the vehicle. As per the law in some states vehicle can be seized by the authorities and a fine has to be paid before getting hold of the vehicle.

This seizure period is not covered by the insurance company and any damage to the vehicle during this period is not covered under your insurance policy.

5. Higher Insurance Rates

One of the most common consequences of driving without a license is that you’ll end up paying more for car insurance. As drivers with records of misdemeanors are known to be riskier, they end up filing more claims and tend to get legally registered insurance providers.

There is a hike in the penalties under the Motor Vehicles Act:

The Motor Vehicles Act is the law that governs the use of road vehicles in India. It has been amended from time to time to make things more clear. The latest amendment has made it compulsory for people who violate the rules to pay a hefty penalty.

The penalties under Motor Vehicles Act have increased drastically with this amendment. If a person is found driving without a license, they will be penalized with Rs 10,000 and their vehicle will be seized by the police.

  • Expiry of Driving License: As per the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, an individual can apply for renewal of a driving license any time between one year before its expiry and up to one after its expiry. This would mean that if your driving license is expiring in October 2020, then you can apply for renewal from October 2019 to October 2021. However, if you apply for renewal after one year of the expiry of the license then you will be required to undertake the driving license test once again.
  • Clauses of Motor Vehicles Act: These are provisions that require no further amendments in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement. The 63 clauses deal with penalties, licenses, registration, and National Transport Policy, among others.
  • Driving Without License: The new law enhances the penalty for unauthorized use of vehicles without a license to Rs 5,000 from up to Rs 1,000. The minimum penalty for driving without a license has been increased to Rs 5,000 from Rs 500 while the fine for driving despite disqualification has been increased to Rs 10,000.
  • No Helmet: Under the new law, driving without wearing a helmet will attract a penalty of Rs 1,000.
  • Drunken Driving: The new rules also enhance the penalty for drunken driving to imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 for the first offense and imprisonment of up to 2 years and/or a fine of Rs 15,000 for the second offense.
  • Rule of Minors: A new provision has been added to the Bill concerning underage drivers under which the guardians or vehicle owners shall be held guilty in case of an offense by a juvenile. A fine of Rs 25,000 with three years imprisonment will be imposed and the juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act while the registration of the vehicle will be canceled.
Traffic Violations (Offences) Penalties
Riding without helmet Rs. 500
Driving without seatbelt Rs. 1,000
Talking on mobile while driving Rs.1,000 for the first offense and Rs. 10,000 for the subsequent offense
Violating parking rules Rs. 500 for the first offense and Rs. 1,500 for the second offense
Driving without license Rs. 5,000
Violating speed limits Rs. 4,000
Not giving way to emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire brigades Rs.10,000
Violating speed limits Rs. 4,000
Drunk and driving Rs.10,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment which can be extended to Rs.15,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment for a subsequent offense
Minor driving a registered vehicle Rs. 25,000 along with imprisonment of up to 3 years
Selling a vehicle after making illegal modifications Rs. 5,000 per modification
Giving incorrect information while applying for a driving license Rs.10,000
Not obeying traffic lights Fines between Rs.1,000 and Rs.5,000 and/or imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year

When you are not supposed to go on a ride under the act of section 181?

  1. An individual cannot drive a vehicle in public places unless they have a valid and authorized driving license. Moreover, they cannot drive any transport vehicle (other than a motor cab/motorcycle) for personal use or rent the same under any scheme made under sub-section (2) of Section 75, unless their driving license entitles them to do so.
  2. No individual under the age of 18 years should be driving a motor vehicle in public places. However, driving a motor vehicle with an engine capacity that does not exceed 50cc is allowed after the individual attains the age of 16 years.
  3. Concerning the provision of Section 18, no individual under the age of 20 years is allowed to drive a transport vehicle in any public place.
  4. No individual will be issued a learner’s license or permanent driving license to drive a motor vehicle of the class that he has made an application for unless they are eligible to drive the same under this section.
Driving without license 3 months of imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 fine or both
Minor Driver 3 months of imprisonment or Rs.5,000 fine or both

How to Obtain a Driving License?

Anyone interested to acquire a driving license must enroll in a driving training establishment and take lessons from an authorized trainer in a vehicle of his choice.

  • To train as a driver, you must get a Learner’s License from the Regional Transport Office before commencing your lessons.
  • After completing the driving training course, you will be required to appear for a test, before the officer of the Regional Transport Office.
  • This test includes both practical and theoretical aspects which the prospective must be able clear.
  • The practical test is the actual test of driving that the candidate needs to undertake.
  • The theoretical test is the test of your knowledge of the traffic rules and traffic signs on the road. Once you pass these tests you will get a driving license from the Regional Transport Office.

What is the Period of Validity of Driving License for Cars?

A driving license is issued for a definite period. For cars, etc. the validity of the license will be for 20 years with a grace period of 30 days for renewal. For commercial vehicles, the validity of the license will be for 3 years only. The holder of any driving license will have to renew the license before the expiry date to be able to keep on driving on the Indian roads.

No Need to Carry License, RC, and Insurance - from October 1st as per New Motor Vehicle Rules:

In a historic move, the Centre has announced that it is no longer required to carry the physical copies of License, RC, and Insurance. “Vehicle documents can be validated through the electronic means and shall not demand the physical forms for inspection,” said Centre in its statement. These new rules come into effect from October 1st all over India.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued an advisory to all the states to accept Driving License, Registration Copy (RC), and other documents in “electronic form” presented through DigiLocker or mParivahan as valid under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and treat them at par with the physical documents issued by the Transport authorities.

The ministry has received a huge number of grievances from the general public stating that the traffic police or the motor vehicle authorities are not accepting the Driving License, Registration certificates, or other documents when presented electronically through DigiLocker or mParivahan.

The electronic records available on the DigiLocker or mParivahan app are:-

  • Deemed to be legally recognizable and are considered to be at par with the physical documents as per the Information Technology Act, 2020.
  • It has the facility to pull out a citizen’s driving license or registration certificate or any other certificate in an electronic form.
  • The data relating to Insurance of new vehicles and insurance renewal data can be obtained from the Insurance Information Board (IIB) where the data is uploaded daily. This same data will be reflected in the mParivahan app/ echallan app of the ministry.

Scenarios:-

  • The ministry asserted that if the vehicle registration details on the mParivahan app or eChallan app contain the insurance related information which is in force, then the physical requirement of an insurance policy copy is not necessary and is not to be enforced on the citizens.
  • This move by the Central Govt has eased the need of carrying physical documents every time. There might be instances where people forget to carry the physical documents and are paying fine to the Police or RTO even though a soft copy is present in the DigiLocker or mParivahan app.
  • There might be instances where the physical documents are kept in different places; for example, a person might keep his Driving License in his wallet and RC and other vehicle related documents in the vehicle. This is due to the logic that there is no guarantee that he/she drives the same vehicle at all times.
  • There are a few scenarios where the traffic police or the road transport authorities have demanded the original driving license and registration certificates from the citizens and it is difficult for people to carry the originals all the time with the risk of losing them at any point in time.
  • As per the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, the owner/driver of the vehicle has to produce the documents such as a Driving License and Registration certificate, etc. to the specified authorities on demand.

Tips to Avoid the Traffic Violations and Fines:

  • Ensure you’re always carrying your driver’s license with you. If you only have a learner’s license, ensure someone with a valid license is seated with you in the passenger seat.
  • Ensure you and the person on your front passenger seat are always wearing your seatbelt.
  • Always stay within your speed limit and don’t get too filmy, racing around in town. Leave that for the stuntmen and movies.
  • Always make way for emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, and police cars.
  • Even though a soft copy can suffice, it’s always better to carry a physical copy of your car insurance on your dashboard. Additionally, always check your car policy expiry date and make sure you renew it a maximum, of one to two days before its expiry. You don’t want to be stuck in any tricky situations!
  • If you haven’t yet brought your car insurance or are yet to renew your existing car insurance policy. Renew it before it expires.
  • Never try to bribe police officers. That’s a crime in itself as per the new amendment, you can’t get away with it as there’s now a hefty fine to pay for the same!
  • Never drive drunk, even if you’ve consumed only a bit of alcohol. It’s better to get dropped by a friend or cab instead.

Conclusion:

Get a driving license otherwise you risk getting arrested for driving without a valid license. This can not only put your life in danger but also cause damage to your car if the worse happens. If you have to get a new battery for your car or bike, it's worth remembering that you will not be fully reimbursed for any costs incurred.

Adding motor insurance to your car insurance will help you avoid hefty penalties. PolicyBachat offers many features, including cashless claims, easy renewal, and quick settlements and their rates are more reasonable than most competitors. To be covered against both third parties as well as your losses with our comprehensive motor insurance policy.

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