A person under the age of 18 is a minor who is not eligible to take full legal responsibility for his/her actions and their consequences. As by the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, an underage person who does not fill the requirement of Section 3 & 4 of Motor Vehicle Act is not eligible for a license to drive vehicle and if he/she is held liable for the breach of the law, it is considered to be an offense.
- No person shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place unless he holds an effective driving license issued to him authorizing him to drive the vehicle; and no person shall so drive a transport vehicle [other than 1[a motor cab or motor cycle] hired for his own use or rented under any scheme made under sub-section (2) of section 75] unless his driving license specifically entitles him so to do.
- The conditions subject to which sub-section (1) shall not apply to a person receiving instructions in driving a motor vehicle shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Section 4 of the Motor Vehicle Act provides the age limit of the person in connection with the driving license.
- No person under the age of eighteen years shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place: Provided that 1[a motorcycle with the engine capacity not exceeding 50cc] may be driven in a public place by a person after attaining the age of sixteen years.
- Subject to the provisions of section 18, no person under the age of twenty years shall drive a transport vehicle in any public place.
- No learner’s license or driving license shall be issued to any person to drive a vehicle of the class to which he has made an application unless he is eligible to drive that class of vehicle under this section.
As per the laws, the government has made certain guidelines for permitting a vehicle license to a person. A minor person is not authorized to drive. As mentioned in Section 4, the age limit is 18 years. Any person under 18 years of age can not have the driving license. However, he/she can drive a motorbike with a 50cc engine upon attaining the age of 16. A person of 20 or less cannot drive a public transport vehicle. It is an offense if the breach of Section 3 & 4 is done.
The sections which deal with the breach of Section 3 & 4
Allowing unauthorized persons to drive vehicles.—Whoever, being the owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle, causes or permits, any other person who does not satisfy the provisions of section 3 or section 4 to drive the vehicle shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
If the accident occurs by the underage, he may be held responsible to provide compensation to the victim. The victim medical charges will be taken over by the person who is responsible for the occurrence of the accident. In the case of underage persons, the case will not be held in the criminal court even if it involves casualties. Even if someone is killed in the accident, he could be held in juvenile court. When the victim is killed but the intention of the person was not to kill him, it becomes a case of culpable homicide under Section 299.
Driving vehicles in contravention of Section 3 or Section 4.—Whoever drives a motor vehicle in contravention of section 3 or section 4 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
In a case of accident by the underage driver
If the underage driver rides a vehicle and meets with an accident, the owner of the vehicle is also fairly liable for the breach for handing over the vehicle to someone below 18 years of age and fined. They have to pay the compensation and the bail may be granted according to the depth of the crime. The person could be punished for the term of 3 months or less but not more than 3 months. But compensation is preferred flexible for both the victim and the driver.