Published on August 1st, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


Minimum Driving License Age In Malaysia May Be Too Low

What happens at 18 that makes people more qualified to get a driving license?

The minimum driving age in Malaysia is currently set at 17. While it’s not the lowest in the world, it’s certainly lower than in some other markets. Typically though, most countries will allow students to start learning how to drive between the ages of 16-18. In southeast Asia, other nations like Indonesia and the Philippines have the same minimum driving age as us. However, in every other South East Asian country, that age is 18.

The distinction is drawn between the license to ride a motorbike and the license to drive a car. In Malaysia, you can sit for your motorcycle license as soon as you hit 16 years of age. We’re not exactly sure what happens between the ages of 16 and 17 that suddenly makes a person more qualified to drive. Perhaps the thinking is that the older you are, the more responsibilities one has, and the resulting ‘maturity’ will help those aged 17 make more sound decisions behind the wheel.

The reality is not so simple, as we all know. There are 14 year olds with more maturity than 28 year olds and vice versa. So perhaps the minimum age is just an arbitrary line in the sand that some lawmaker drew decades ago and now we’re all just stuck with it. The only somewhat objective correlation is the amount of testosterone the body produces at certain ages. Apparently male testosterone production lowers drastically after age 18, so perhaps 19 would actually be a good place to start. But that would only small issue for one half of the new driver population…

driving license age issue

So, what would be a better measure? Perhaps we should keep the minimum age at 17 but just focus on improving the driving syllabus, the training, and the examination methodology. After all, Malaysia also has the third-highest fatality rate of any ASEAN state and this is costly for everyone, including the government, insurance companies as well as individuals and families. Overall enforcement needs to be improved and it’s high time the government start considering less labour intensive means of enforcement. Begin rolling out more traffic and speed cameras, switch to a roadtax system that can be easily linked to driver/owner/insurance information with a QR code attached. Make the jobs of the police a bit more straightforward and then the enforcement would be more easily done.

BHPetrol_Euro5 Diesel_2021

Would a lower amount of power for young drivers work?

I don’t think lowering the amount of horsepower younger drivers are exposed to would lead to any effective reduction. One can still be reckless in an older car with very little horsepower. And it would be extremely difficult to enforce. However, that’s what’s being discussed for riders.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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