With more than 90,000 students riding to school daily without a valid motorcycle licence, a suggestion has been made to lower the minimum age to obtain a licence from the existing 16 years to 15 in order to legalise these youngsters with valid licences, the New Straits Times reports.

The call lower the age limit for motorcycle licences was made by Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who said that the move, if implemented, would curb improve road safety.

He was commenting on a report that unlicensed students make up about 80% of some 117,000 students in Malaysia who currently ride a motorcycle to school. Offenders include those between the ages of 11 and 20, and many go to schools in rural areas.

“With the lower age requirement, young people would be encouraged to apply for valid driving licence and undergo proper training before hitting the road. I hope the government and JPJ can implement the new minimum age requirement to enable youths to apply for motorcycle licence. They should be given a valid L (learner’s driver) licence, with the condition that they are not allowed to have pillion riders,” he told the publication.

driving riding licence categories

Lee added that the government should also consider providing incentives for teenagers to encourage them to apply for a valid driving licence, and that parents should make an effort to educate their children on the importance of road safety.

His view was however not shared by others. Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that a system where enforcement, education and punishment were strictly in place should be adopted. “Better regulation of the laws is more important than revising the age requirement. In general, students are not ready to become responsible road users at 15 and this is the reason why the current requirement is set at 16 years old,” she stated.

Transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was also against the idea. He said parents should be held accountable for letting their children ride without a licence.

“We want parents to be guided through education. They can be reprimanded, if possible, and they must understand that we have specific laws and regulations when it comes to road use. We will charge and summon those who are found without driving licence. Somebody has to be responsible for committing traffic violations,” Liow explained.