Don’t drive if you are not 18 — NRSA

Don’t drive if you are not 18 — NRSA

The Director of Regulations, Inspection and Compliance at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Mr Kwame Koduah Atuahene, has said it is an offence for youngsters below 18 to drive vehicles or ride motorcycles.

 He noted that even if such youngsters were 18 or above and had to drive, they must have attended driving schools and acquired valid driver’s licenses before sitting behind the wheel.

Mr Atuahene, in an interview with the Junior Graphic, acknowledged the fact that some youngsters below 18 were very smart and learnt very fast, while they had the physique to drive or ride motorcycles, but since the road safety regulations in the country did not permit them to drive at that age, it was an offence to do that.

 “Aside from that, driving a vehicle and riding a motorcycle go beyond just having the physique, the ability to learn fast, and being smart.

It requires a certain level of maturity. So when you are 18 years and above, it is assumed that you will be able to make important judgments as a road user and will not be a danger to yourself and other road users,” he stressed.

He noted that one’s ability to move a vehicle forward and backward was not enough, saying: “That is why before a licence is issued, there is always a test of one’s physical condition and knowledge in-traffic competencies.

If there is a shortfall in any of these, the licence is not issued.” Mr Atuahene noted that if a person was found to be driving without a valid licence or was underage, he or she would be arrested, prosecuted, and fined 10 penalty units, which is equivalent to GH¢120, adding: “That is if nothing happens.”

“But assuming that one is involved in a crash, knocks down a pedestrian or destroys property and there is evidence that one is underage, then one’s situation will be quite serious,” he noted.

 He said parents should not look at their children’s physiques and decide that it was time for them to start driving.

He added that parents should also not try to teach their children how to drive but rather enrol them in driving schools when they were 18 and above for them to acquire licences before they could drive.

He cautioned parents not to trivialise the act of driving and encourage their children to drive without the necessary preparations because the business of driving was an important and serious endeavour to undertake, adding that the law placed a legal responsibility on parents or adults and prosecuted whoever permitted an unqualified or underage person to drive.

“According to the law, ‘a person shall not authorise, order, consent or knowingly permit the operation of a motor vehicle owned by that person or under that person's control by another person when that person has knowledge that that other person has no legal right to do so,” he said.

 He indicated that if a person broke that law, he or she committed an offence and would be fined not less than 50 and not more than 100 penalty units, which is not less than GH¢600 and not more than GH¢1,200, respectively, or a term of imprisonment of not less than three months and not more than six months or the person would pay a fine and serve a prison sentence as well.

Mr Atuahene also cautioned parents to desist from lying about their children’s ages with the sole purpose of obtaining driver’s licences for them.

“That is also an offence under the law. The person found culpable will also pay a fine not above 250 penalty units, which is GH¢3,000, or serve a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both,” he said.

On the importance of enrolling in a driving school, he said driving schools taught students a lot of things beyond moving a vehicle.

“Students in driving schools learn about road safety regulations and signs so that they will be safe on the road. They also learn about the parts of vehicles, which helps them in their everyday use of the vehicles they drive.

That is why it is not advisable to cut corners. “People talk about the cost, but we can’t place a value on life. If people are able to buy vehicles that cost so much, then they can afford to go to driving schools or make their children attend them,” he emphasised











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