Differently abled people, who cherish the idea of driving a Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) with automatic transmission, have news to cheer.

The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has liberalised the rules governing the use of such vehicles. The Transport Commissioner’s order, issued in December, allows those with over 40 per cent challenges, will benefit the most.

Their mobility issues could be mitigated to some degree through the order, Regional Transport Officer, Kozhikode, Rajiv Puthalath said. The order came on a request submitted by a Kozhikode-native to the MVD.

The latest order would allow people with certain degree of challenges to use automatic-transmission vehicles without alterations.

“So far, the LMVs with automatic transmission were not included in the category of vehicles for the physically challenged,” Mr. Puthalath said. Cars with automatic transmission had been in the market for long now. But, the benefits of such vehicles were ‘forbidden’ to people with challenges.

The MVD found that many people with challenges were comfortable driving automatic cars than the altered versions.

Also, the department could not turn a blind eye to the difficulty of people who had to alter their vehicles, MVD officials said. Control devices such as clutch, gear, brake, and steering wheels had to be altered. Even after such alterations, these vehicles were under ‘invalid carrier’ tag.

Though the term ‘invalid carrier’ may continue in the MVD’s manual, the vehicles with automatic transmission will no more fall under that special category as a majority of the intended buyers will use it without any alterations. People who need slight mechanical adjustments can do it easily. With the new order, some of the major issues raised by those with challenges had been addressed, MVD officials said.

Citizens belonging to the category would now get tax exemptions for buying vehicles.

The registration process and licence tests would be simplified. Similarly, the alteration of two-wheelers as tricycles, using approved mechanical kits, is legal now, they said.

“In Kozhikode, the liberalisation of rules has evoked a very good response from the citizens as the registration of the mobility carriers has witnessed an increase,” Mr. Puthalath said.

More or less six such vehicles come for registration at the Kozhikode RT Office on a monthly basis, which certainly communicated a positive spirit, he said.

People who had been riding such vehicles said the new laws in the sector were the result of persistent action by them.

“We take the vehicles on the road fully complying with the rules of the government and adhering to the traffic norms. This is also part of empowering the community,” said Bessy Prasad, owner of a tricycle in the city. Ms. Prasad, who worked with a private firm in the city, said, “more such pleasant laws on part of government departments will equip the community to live independently and support their families.”

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