India is not a very road-friendly country and that's evident by the number of people killed in road accidents every year. Statistically speaking, India is one of the worst countries to drive your car in and the number of accidents are freakishly high. While various laws and regulations are in place to stop accidents, they were not strong enough to make India a safe driving place.
In comes the new government of BJP and new minister of road, transport and highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari. The Union Minister proposed stringent laws to stop road accidents and impose heavy fine on the traffic violators. The proposed amendment, or the 2016 Motor Vehicle Bill as it is called was tabled at the ongoing Monsoon session of parliament and has gathered the approval from the Union Cabinet.
The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was approved at a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. "The important provisions include increase in compensation for hit-and-run cases from Rs.25,000 to Rs. 2 lakh. It also provides for compensation up to Rs. 10 lakh in road accidents fatalities," an official release said.
Here are the amendments and how they will harm the violators-
· Driving without license will attract a Rs 5000 fine, ten times more than the previous rule
· Drunk driving penalty has been increased fivefold to Rs 10000
· Driving without seat belt penalty is Rs 1000 now, a ten times increase
· For driving without insurance, the penalty is Rs 2000, two times more than the previous rule
· For any offense committed by juveniles, the guardian/ parents/ owner of the vehicle shall be deemed to be guilty. Apart from three-year imprisonment under the Juvenile Justice Act, a penalty of Rs 25000 will be imposed too.
· Overspeeding vehicles will have to pay Rs 1000 (Light Motor Vehicle) and Rs 2000 (Medium Passenger Vehicle) instead of Rs 400 now
· Dangerous driving will attract a penalty of Rs 5000, fivefold than the earlier rule of Rs 1000
· Any disobedience of the orders of authorities, will attract a 4 times raised penalty of Rs 2000
· Causing hindrance in the way of emergency vehicles will attract a penalty of Rs 10000
· The minimum penalty for violating road rules is now Rs 500 as compared to the earlier Rs 100.
"The bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from 1st October 2018. This would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle," said the statement. "The penalties are also proposed for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers," it added.
Given the state of road traffic conditions in India, the 2016 amendment to the Motor Vehicle Bill is a welcome move. Though, we will still urge the government to focus on building the proper infrastructure to support the above mentioned amendments.