Section 181 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988


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The Section 181 of the Motor Vehicle Act governs the consequences of driving without a valid licence. Its recent amendment includes a penalty of ₹5,000, or 3 months of imprisonment, or both for minors and others caught driving without a valid licence. 


Section 181 of the MV Act further stipulates the kind of licences needed and the prescribed age requirements to apply for them. For example: minimum 16 years of age to apply for licence for gearless 2-wheelers up to 50 cc, 18 years for light motor vehicles, and 20 years for heavy motor and commercial vehicles.

Section 181 of the MV Act

In this article, we will be specifically discussing Section 181 of Motor Vehicles Act and the punishments under it. Section 181 of the MV Act is about driving without a valid driving licence and driving by an underaged person. Let’s have a look at what Section 181 is about.


The Section 181 MV Act is a contravention of Section 3 or Section 4. Let us discuss the two below.


Under Section 3

  1. An individual cannot drive a vehicle in public places unless they have a valid and authorised driving licence. 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 licence entitles them to do so.

  2. The circumstances under which the sub-section (1) does not apply to an individual when driving a motor vehicle in India is only when it is prescribed by the Central Government.


Under Section 4

  1. 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.

  2. With respect to the provision of Section 18, no individual under the age of 20 years is allowed to drive a transport vehicle in any public place.

  3. No individual will be issued a learner’s licence or permanent driving licence 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.


Section 181 Motor Vehicle Act is important as a driving licence is provided to only those individuals who pass the driving test. Since driving a vehicle requires a licence, it means no random person can take the car for a spin. If you don’t have a licence, it is implied that you are not an authorised driver, which thereby implies that you are not skilled to handle a vehicle. Hence, driving without a licence is a punishable crime under Section 181 Motor Vehicle Act.

Additionally, minors are most likely to lose control of their vehicle. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are higher among teens. Thus, Section 181 of MV Act makes underage driving without a learner’s licence and in the absence of an adult with a permanent driving licence illegal. Let’s now have a look at the Section 181 MV Act fines.


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Penalties and Fines Under Section 181 of the New Motor Vehicle Act, 2019

The 181 MV Act fines are as follows:

Details of the Offence


Section 181 MV Act Fine or Punishment

Driving without licence

Section 3r/w 181 of MV Act

3 months of imprisonment or ₹5,000 fine or both

Underaged driver

Section 4r/w 181 of MV Act

3 months of imprisonment or ₹5,000 fine or both


Driving without a valid driving licence is a punishable offence. Moreover, allowing minors to drive a motor vehicle not only puts people’s lives in danger but can also cause great damage to your precious vehicle in case any unfortunate event happens. In fact, know that expenses incurred in such a situation will not be reimbursed under your car insurance or bike insurance plans.


So, to avoid facing hefty penalties, make sure that you also buy motor insurance for your vehicle. At Bajaj Markets, you can avail features like cashless claims, easy renewal, and quick settlements at a feasible rate. With our comprehensive motor insurance, you can have yourself covered against third-party as well as your own losses.

FAQs on Section 181 MV Act

The New Motor Vehicle Act was introduced to bring road accident rates under control.

Section 181 of the Motor Vehicle Act focuses on penalising underage driving and driving without licence.

Yes, a minor can drive a car with a learner’s licence and in the presence of an adult who has a permanent driving licence.

Section 181 of the Motor Vehicle Act was introduced in 1988.

No, Section 181 MV Act prohibits you from driving any vehicle without a licence.

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