5 Documents You Must Keep Handy While Driving


We all know that driving a car is a huge responsibility. We must drive safely and obey all the traffic rules. One of the essential rules of driving a car is carrying proper documentation. Whether you break a traffic rule or not, it is the legal right of a traffic official to stop your vehicle and inspect your car’s documents. Failure to produce the papers invites hefty fines or even imprisonment in certain cases. 

The Indian Motor Vehicles Act has listed the documents that are necessary to be in your possession while driving. Want to know what they are? Read on!

List of Documents to Always Keep in Your Car

  1. Car Insurance: The Motor Vehicles Act mandates every car owner to insure their car with at least a third-party insurance, along with a ₹15 lakh Personal Accident Cover. Rule 141 of the Act directs the insurer to issue you a Certificate of Insurance that details the particulars of your insurance. It is imperative to carry this Certificate at all times.
    While third-party insurance is the minimum legal mandate, it is advisable to go for a comprehensive car insurance plan to protect you and your car, along with third-party liabilities.
    Car insurance companies like Tata AIG provide you with a soft copy of the insurance policy on your email ID. They also have intuitive mobile apps, where you can access your policy document 24×7. So if you fail to carry the hard copy of the document, you can access the soft copy and produce it if asked.
  2. Driving License: A driving license is a certificate issued to you by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) stating that you possess optimum driving skills. The Motor Vehicles Act lays down that every driver in India should have a valid Driver’s Licence (DL). When you apply for a DL, you get a learner’s license first. After a month of getting the learning license, you have to appear for a driving test at the applicable RTO. The RTO authorities will test your driving skills and issue you a DL only if you pass the test. Carry the DL at all times while driving your vehicle.
  3. Car Registration Certificate: The Registration Certificate (RC) is legal proof that you have registered your car with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Within 7 days of buying a new vehicle, you need to apply for getting your vehicle registered at the local RTO. The RC is valid for 15 years, post which you can renew it for a period of 5 years at a time. The Motor Vehicles Act makes it compulsory for all motor vehicles plying on the roads to carry a Registration Certificate.
  4. PUC Certificate: The Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate certifies that the fumes emitted from your vehicle meet the pollution control norms set by the authorities. It is mandatory to get your vehicle’s emissions tested, and carry a PUC Certificate stating your compliance. Failure to meet the standards can bar your vehicle from plying on the roads. You can get your car tested at any authorised PUC Checking Centres. They are generally located near petrol pumps.
  5. Additional documents and permits: If you drive a commercial vehicle, then you need to carry two additional documents:


  • Permits: The necessary permits to use the vehicle as a commercial vehicle for the applicable business.
  • Fitness Certificate: This certifies that your car is fit to be used in a public place.



Soft Copies of the Documents

You can now carry the soft copies of your Registration Certificate, Driving License and PUC through the DigiLocker or the mParivahan app. The DigiLockerapp, launched by the Government of India, helps you to digitally store all your necessary documents.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, has launched the mParivahan app. Wherein you can add your Driving License andupload all the vehicles’ details with the respective Registration Numbers. 

Voila! You have created the virtual Registration Certificates and Driving License. Based on the car’s Registration Number, the mParivahan app sources the linked insurance policy and its validity, the linked PUC certificate and its validity, and all the details present on your RC. 

Legally, you can also present the soft copy of your Certificate of Insurance issued to you by your car insurance company.

Thus, you do not have to carry the hard copies of these documents anymore. 

What are the Applicable Fines for Driving Without the Documents?

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act came into force from 1st September 2019. The Amendment raised the penalties for some violations, while also introduced new penalties against traffic rules violations. 

Here are theapplicable fines if you do not carry the aforementioned documents:

Offence Fine
Driving Without License ₹5000
Driving Without Insurance First Time: ₹2000 and/0r 3 months imprisonment
Second Time: ₹4000 and/or 3 months imprisonment
Driving Commercial Vehicle Without Permit ₹10,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment
Violation of Road Regulations ₹500 to ₹1000


The traffic officers have also been granted the power to impound your documents. They can suspend you Driving License under Sections 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, 194E.


It is a legal mandate to carry all the aforementioned documents – original or attested photocopies or the mParivahan soft copies while driving your car on the roads. Ensure that you always keep all the necessary documents handy, drive safe and follow all traffic guidelines to have a pleasant drive!